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Zelenskyy urges 'just punishment' against Russia in address to United Nations

World leaders are gathered in New York for the 77th UN General Assembly.

Image: Adrien Fillon

Updated Sep 21st 2022, 10:45 PM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR Zelenskyy has urged the United Nations to punish Russia for its invasion, calling for a special tribunal and compensation fund and for Moscow to be stripped of its veto.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment,” said Zelenskyy, the sole leader allowed to deliver an address via video to the annual summit.

Wearing his trademark military green t-shirt, Zelenskyy said in a pre-recorded address that Russia had violated the principles of the world body.

Zelenskyy called for the establishment of a special tribunal against Russia “for the crime of aggression against our state” and to ensure accountability.

He called for a fund to compensate Ukrainians for damage suffered during the invasion.

Zelenskyy also urged the United Nations to strip Russia of its veto power on the Security Council.

Ukraine has previously argued that Moscow holds a seat that belonged to the former Soviet Union, not Russia.

World leaders are gathered in New York for the 77th UN General Assembly.

‘A nuclear war cannot be won’

During his address earlier today, US President Joe Biden tore into Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian leader “shamelessly violated” the UN Charter when he invaded neighbouring Ukraine.

“Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter,” Biden said.

Biden has warned that nuclear wars “cannot be won” and said Washington is ready to pursue arms control measures.

“A nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought,” Biden told the UN General Assembly, as he took aim at Moscow for “making irresponsible nuclear threats”.

“Just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe and reckless disregard for the responsibilities of a non-proliferation regime,” he said. 

“The United States is ready to pursue critical armed control measures,” added the president, who also vowed that Washington will not allow Iran obtain atomic weapons.

The United States is ready to pursue critical arm control measures. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The five permanent members of the Security Council just reaffirmed that commitment in January but today we’re seeing disturbing trends.

“Russia shunned the Non Proliferation Review Conference and again today, as I said, are making irresponsible nuclear threats to use nuclear weapons.”

Russian forces have attacked Ukrainian schools, railway stations and hospitals, part of Moscow’s aim of “extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state,” Biden said.

new-york-city-united-states-21st-sep-2022-president-joe-biden-speaks-at-the-77th-un-general-assembly-session-general-debate-in-un-general-assembly-hall-at-the-united-nations-headquarters-in-new-yo US President Joe Biden speaks at the 77th UN General Assembly session in New York Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Putin’s address

Biden and Zelenskyy’s comments today come after Putin earlier accused the West of attempting to destroy Russia as he announced “partial” conscription across the country. 

Putin repeatedly claimed that his army was fighting a special military operation against “neo-nazis” and “the whole military machine of the West”.

He said he signed a “partial mobilisation” of reserves in Russia.

“I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Defence Ministry and of the General Staff to conduct partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation,” Putin said.

The conscription will affect only those who are in the military reserve and anyone with previous military experience. 

The Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said this will involve 300,000 people adding that students will be exempt and that only one percent of mobilisation will be used.  

Putin had been expected to deliver an address to the nation yesterday evening after it was announced that Moscow-held regions of the Ukraine are preparing to vote on annexation. However, the speech was later delayed until this morning.

He also threatened that he would use nuclear weapons to defend the integrity of Russia and stressed it by saying that he was “not bluffing”.

He said he would use “all available means” to protect the Russian territory. 

He accused the West of seeking to “weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country”.

“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff,” Putin said.

“Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind can also turn in their direction,” Putin added.

With reporting by Niall O’Connor and © – AFP 2022

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