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Russia must be punished for its “illegal war” against Ukraine, says President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

 UNITED NATIONS:Russia must be punished for its “illegal war” against Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday – part of a “peace formula” that also calls for greater civilian protection and defense support.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment,” he said in a pre-recorded message to world leaders. 

“The crime was committed against our State borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people. The crime was committed against the dignity of our women and men. The crime was committed against the values that make you and me a community of the United Nations.”

Five-point plan

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, Heads of State and Government are once again back in New York for their annual debate.

Last week, UN Member States met to vote on allowing Mr. Zelenskyy to deliver his speech via video instead of in-person.

Speaking in English, the President outlined a peace formula that punishes aggression, protects life, restores security and territorial integrity, guarantees security, and highlights the importance of determination.

He stressed that it does not include neutrality.  

“Those who speak of neutrality, when human values and peace are under attack, mean something else,” he said. “They sympathize only for protocol. And that is why they pretend to protect someone, but in reality, they protect only their vested interests.”

 

 Special tribunal and sanctions

President Zelenskyy said not only can the peace formula work for Ukraine, “but for anyone who may find themselves in similar circumstances as we did.”

Punishment for the crime of aggression includes implementing sanctions, such as trade and travel bans.

“A Special Tribunal should be created to punish Russia for the crime of aggression against our State. This will become a signal to all ‘would-be’ aggressors, that they must value peace or be brought to responsibility by the world,” he said.

“We have prepared precise steps to establish such a Tribunal. They will be presented to all States. Ukraine will appeal to the UN General Assembly to support an international compensation mechanism.”

Appeal for weapons

On protection, the President referred to Ukrainian cities such as Izyum and Bucha, where hundreds of bodies were discovered.

“The only thing that differs the mass burial in Izyum from what the world saw in Bucha is, in fact, the burial. The Russian army was in Izyum for a longer time, and therefore the bodies of the killed people were buried, and not scattered on the streets,” he said.

Protecting citizens and liberating territory requires weapons, and Mr. Zelenskyy appealed for support. 

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