Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told world leaders on Tuesday that Russia is “weaponizing” everything from food and energy to kidnapped children in its war against Ukraine.
Although there are various agreements around the world restricting weapons themselves, “there are no real restrictions on weaponization,” he told the annual top-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
Zelenskiy emerged on the world stage at a delicate time in his campaign to maintain international support for his country’s fight. Nearly 19 months after Moscow launched a full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s military has been on the offensive for three months, but it has not been as fast or as successful as initially hoped.
Ukraine and its allies are defending the country as they fight for the international rule of law, each country’s sovereignty against its powerful and potentially expansionist neighbors, and the security of food, fuel and other supplies in a world rocked by conflict. It’s about a good cause. war.
The dramatic changes in primary products caused inflation and severe hardship for poor countries.
“We must confront this naked invasion today and stop other invaders tomorrow,” US President Joe Biden said in a speech to Congress on Tuesday. Mr. Zelenskyy’s pledge to support Ukraine was met with applause, and United Nations cameras showed him clapping his hands as he sat on the Ukrainian side of the General Assembly.
Russia maintains that the war is justified, saying it is protecting Russian-speaking people in Ukraine from hostile governments and Russian interests, including a NATO invasion.
The war was long, losses were greater than Russia had anticipated, and the fighting prompted widespread international condemnation and sanctions against Moscow.
But there are other influential friends in the Kremlin who have not joined in the chorus of condemnation. For example, China and India claim neutrality. The same goes for many Middle Eastern and African countries. Many Latin American and Caribbean countries prefer to focus the world’s attention on other global issues, such as climate change and conflicts in Africa.
The Russian government is keen to flaunt its global influence and ties to China, insisting it cannot be isolated internationally by the United States and its European allies.
Russia will get the chance to address the General Assembly on Saturday, when Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to take to the podium.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is concerned about the possibility of losing support from its allies. They have supplied billions of dollars worth of weapons, but are concerned that stockpiles are dwindling and defense contractors are struggling to ramp up production lines.
Hours before President Zelenskyy spoke at the United Nations, allied defense leaders met at a U.S. military base in Germany to discuss next steps.
Some countries have pledged more money and weapons.
But a key issue is whether to supply the long-range missiles Kiev says it needs to attack Russian forces and facilities from a safe distance, about 180 miles (300 kilometers) away. . T
The United States is wary of the request, concerned that Ukraine could use such weapons to attack deep into Russian territory and provoke Russia.
Congress is currently considering Biden’s request to provide up to $24 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine amid widening partisan divides over conflict spending.
Zelenskiy is expected to spend time at the Capitol on Thursday and meet with Biden at the White House.
After arriving in New York on Monday, President Zelenskiy suggested that the United Nations needs to answer for allowing its own invaders to sit in power.
“For us, it is very important that our every word, every message gets through to our partners. And if there is still – unfortunately – a place for Russian terrorists in the United Nations; That’s not a question for me. I think this is a question for all United Nations member states,” Zelenskiy said after visiting wounded Ukrainian servicemen at Staten Island University Hospital.
Zelensky is also scheduled to address Ukraine on Wednesday at the United Nations Security Council. Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council with the ability to exercise veto power, and Lavrov is also expected to speak.
Asked if he would remain in the room to listen, Zelenskiy said: “I don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
President Zelenskiy has previously tasked the United Nations with wars started by neighboring countries, where he, as a member of the Security Council, is charged with maintaining international peace and security. In one memorable example, he lamented at the 2021 General Assembly that the United Nations had become “a retired superhero that has long since forgotten its former greatness.”
Zelenskiy, a former comedian and actor who took office as president in 2019, has since become a wartime leader, donning military uniform to rally the nation at home and appearing virtually and in person before numerous international organizations.
While at Staten Island Hospital, he awarded medals to military personnel who had lost limbs. With help from Kind Deeds, a New Jersey-based charity, 18 soldiers have been fitted with prosthetic legs and are receiving outpatient physical therapy at the hospital, organization leaders said.
“We’re all waiting for you to come home.”