20th September 2023 – (United Nations) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a plea to world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, calling for unity in the face of Russia’s invasion and emphasising the need to address pressing global challenges. Zelensky received applause as he took the podium in New York, marking his first in-person appearance at the annual UNGA since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Zelensky expressed Ukraine’s determination to ensure that no nation would dare to attack another following Russian aggression. He stressed the importance of restraining weaponisation, holding war criminals accountable, facilitating the return of displaced individuals to their homes, and pushing the occupiers back to their own land. He rallied the international community, stating, “We must stand united to achieve these goals, and we will.”
The Ukrainian President also accused Russia of manipulating global food markets in an attempt to gain international recognition of its ownership of land seized from Kyiv. Zelensky highlighted the need for unity in addressing the worsening climate crisis and natural disasters, citing the recent earthquake in Morocco and floods in Libya.
Earlier on the same day, Ukrainian officials reported that nine people were killed in Russian attacks, including a drone strike that caused extensive damage to industrial warehouses. Zelensky condemned Russia for its alleged kidnapping of Ukrainian children. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, suspecting him of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. The Kremlin has denied these accusations and rejected the court’s jurisdiction.
Zelensky described the situation as a genocide, as Ukrainian children in Russia are reportedly taught to hate Ukraine, resulting in severed ties with their families. He called for international attention to this alarming issue, stating that the weaponisation of hatred against a nation constitutes a clear act of genocide.
In the past, Zelensky presented a 10-point plan aimed at restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, withdrawing Russian troops, ceasing hostilities, and reinstating Ukraine’s state borders. He revealed that he is currently working towards a peace summit based on this plan and intends to present further details at a special meeting of the UN Security Council.