Zelenskyy urges ‘just punishment’ for Russia over invasion

By Mario Villar

United Nations, Sep 22 (EFE).- Russia deserves “just punishment” for its invasion of Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the United Nations General Assembly in an impassioned speech. 

In a pre-recorded address late Wednesday, the Ukrainian leader called for greater military support from the international community just hours after Russia’s Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of army reservists and threatened the use of nuclear weapons. 

Putin’s remarks set the agenda on the second day of the UN assembly Wednesday, which Russia did not attend and came amid Kyiv’s ongoing counteroffensive in the country’s Kharkiv region. 

Zelenskyy, speaking from Kyiv, said Putin’s invasion was a “crime” against Ukraine, its citizens and UN values. 

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment,” the president, speaking in English, told dignitaries gathered at the UN headquarters in New York. 

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The punishment, he added, should involve sanctions, a halt in trade and relations with Russia, the withdrawal of its voting powers in international bodies, visa restrictions and the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute crimes committed in the invasion. 

He dismissed the possibility of peace talks at present, insisting that Moscow’s push for negotiations sought to buy time in order to regroup military forces. 

“Russia wants to spend the winter on the occupied territory of Ukraine and prepare forces to attempt a new offensive.

“New Buchas, new Izyums… Or at least it wants to prepare fortifications on occupied land and carry out military mobilization at home,” he added, referring to Ukrainian towns where Russian forces allegedly carried out massacres. 

“We cannot agree to a delayed war. Because it will be even hotter than the war now.”

Zelenskyy, a former actor turned war-time president, called on allies to provide further military support, particularly long-range weaponry and air defense technology to help bolster the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian-occupied regions in eastern and southern parts of the country. 

“We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms. But we need time,” he said, while also petitioning for more financial aid. 

President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, delivers his video address during the 77th General Debate at United Nations Headquarters in New York, 21 September 2022.  EFE/EPA/Peter Foley

“Russia wants war,” Zelenskyy told the UN. 

“We are ready for peace. But true, honest and fair peace. That’s why the world is on our side.”

 The Ukrainian leader’s speech, which lasted nearly half an hour, was received with a standing ovation by a considerable number of dignitaries present. 

Support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion was heard in speeches by United States president Joe Biden, the United Kingdom’s prime minister Liz Truss as well as the leaders of countries closer to the theater of conflict, such as Estonia and Latvia. EFE

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