In Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s first in-person appearance at a UN Security Council meeting on Moscow’s invasion of his country, he told a special meeting that the Russian veto has rendered the world body “ineffective”.
Zelenskyy said that the United Nations was at a dead end regarding aggressions and suggested Russia be stripped of its veto right as one of five permanent members of the post-World War II Security Council as punishment for attacking Ukraine.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
“Everyone in the world can see what exactly makes the UN ineffective. In this seat in the Security Council, which Russia occupies illegally due to behind-the-scenes manipulations after the collapse of the Soviet Union, sit liars whose job it is to justify the aggression and genocide committed by Russia,” he said.
“The veto in the hands of the aggressor is what drove the UN into a dead end. No matter who you are, the existing UN system still makes you less than the veto power that only a few have and that is used by one – Russia – to the detriment of all other UN members,” he said.
“Many years of talks and projects on reforming the UN should become a process of reforming the UN. The use of the veto is what needs reform, and this could be a key reform,” he noted.
He added that the only way to a lasting peace was a full withdrawal of Russian troops and restoration of Kyiv’s control over its territory within the 1991 borders following the fall of the Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, Russian forces on Wednesday shelled the city of Toretsk in eastern Ukraine, killing four people, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office has said.
Zelenskyy’s visit to the United Nations coincided with a pivotal moment for Ukraine’s military campaign to eject Russian forces from Ukraine.
‘Stop the war’
Public enthusiasm for the war effort is waning in many NATO countries, Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive has hit stubborn Russian defenses and soon colder, wetter weather will make many rural roads impassable for heavy vehicles.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the council on Wednesday that Russia’s war in Ukraine “is aggravating geopolitical tensions and divisions, threatening regional stability, increasing the nuclear threat, and creating deep fissures in our increasingly multipolar world”.
Before the meeting started, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia objected to Zelenskyy addressing the council, which is chaired by Albania for September, before the 15 members.
“I want to assure our Russian colleagues and everyone here that this is not a special operation by the Albanian presidency,” Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama told Nebenzia. “There is a solution for this. If you agree, you stop the war and President Zelenskyy will not take the floor.”
Russia has said it is carrying out a “special military operation” in Ukraine because that country’s ambitions to integrate with the West – including NATO – pose a threat to Russia’s national security.
On Thursday, Zelenskyy heads to Washington to meet with US President Joe Biden, members of Congress and military officials to urge continued support for his country’s war effort.
While a majority in Congress still support supplying military aid to Ukraine, sceptical voices among Republicans are growing louder as the war’s cost rises.
Biden plans to announce a new military aid package during Zelenskyy’s visit. In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Biden appealed to world leaders to stand with Ukraine against Russia, saying only Moscow has the power to end the war.