Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the United Nations to punish Russia for the war of aggression against his country.
"A crime was committed against Ukraine and we demand punishment," Zelenskyy said in a video message to the UN General Assembly in New York. Russia must be punished for the killing, torture, humiliation and disastrous turmoil it has thrown Ukraine into.
The Russian war of aggression dominates this year's general debate at the UN General Assembly. Selenskyj was the only one of more than 140 heads of state and government who spoke there via video message. He had received an exemption from the board because of the Russian war of aggression.
Request for more military support
The President used his speech to call for further military support for his country from the international community. "We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory, we can do it with weapons, but we need time," said Zelenskyy. More support is needed for both defense and attack, and more financial help is also needed. Ukraine has been fighting the Russian invasion since February 24 and was recently able to recapture large areas from the occupiers.
Zelenskyj also called for further visa restrictions for Russian citizens. They should not be able to travel to other countries for shopping and vacations, he demanded. Ukraine also wants to implement an international compensation mechanism and hopes for the support of the United Nations. "Russia should pay for this war with its wealth," he said.
With an urgent warning about the situation at the contested Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia, Zelenskyy made it clear that the war was not just a danger to his own country. The Russian actions there "make you all a target," said Zelenskyy. The "Russian radiation blackmail is something that should concern every single one of you" because no one will have a vaccine against radiation sickness.
The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has been under Russian control since the beginning of March. With its six reactors and a net output of 5700 megawatts, it is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for shelling the facility. An accumulation of incidents that led to the shutdown of reactors and power outages had increased international concern about a nuclear catastrophe.
According to the Ukrainian President, Russia is not seriously interested in peace talks. "They talk about the talks, but they announce military mobilization. They talk about the talks, but they announce mock referendums," Zelensky said, referring to the recent announcements by the Russian leadership around President Vladimir Putin. His conclusion: "Russia wants war."
Zelenskyj: There can be no such thing as a neutral attitude towards war
According to Zelenskyy, there can be no neutral position in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. "Anyone who speaks of neutrality when human values and peace are being attacked means something different," Zelenskyj said. Anyone who speaks of neutrality here actually means indifference.
"They act as if they were interested in the problems of others. They formally take care of each other, they only show sympathy for reasons of protocol," he criticized countries that do not want to take a clear position in the conflict. "They pretend to protect someone, but in reality they are only protecting their own interests." Such an attitude creates the conditions for war. And such an attitude must be corrected in order to create the conditions for peace.