At UN, Zelensky tells Russia to stop war so world can fight climate, other crises

At UN, Zelensky tells Russia to stop war so world can fight climate, other crises
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on screen as US President Joe Biden speaks during the General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on 19 September 2023. (Photo: Michael M Santiago / Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky implored world leaders gathered at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday to stand united against Russia's invasion and said Moscow had to be pushed back so the world could turn to solving pressing global challenges.

By Michelle Nichols and Gabriela Baczynska

Zelensky drew applause as he took his place at the United Nations General Assembly lectern in New York for his first in-person appearance at the annual UNGA since Russia invaded his country in 2022.

“Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that after Russian aggression, no one in the world will dare to attack any nation,” he said. “Weaponization must be restrained, war crimes must be punished, deported people must come back home and the occupier must return to their own land.”

“We must be united to make it – and we’ll do it.”

He accused Russia of manipulating global food markets to seek international recognition of ownership of land it seized from Kyiv.

In a nod to the Global South, whose support he is seeking in his standoff with Russia, Zelensky spoke about the worsening climate crisis and natural disasters, mentioning the recent earthquake in Morocco and floods in Libya.

“We have to stop it. We must act united to defeat the aggressor and focus all our capabilities and energy on addressing these challenges,” he told the General Assembly.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ukrainian officials said nine people were killed in Russian attacks, including a drone strike that set ablaze industrial warehouses.

Zelensky accused Russia of kidnapping Ukrainian children.

In March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on suspicion of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. The Kremlin rejects the accusations and the court’s jurisdiction.

“Those children in Russia are taught to hate Ukraine and all ties with their families are broken. And this is clearly a genocide when hatred is weaponized against one nation,” Zelensky said.

Last year, Zelensky presented a 10-point plan that included restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities, and the restoration of Ukraine’s state borders.

He said he was now working towards a peace summit based on that: “Tomorrow I will present the details at a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council.”

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Howard Goller)


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  • Louise Louise says:

    Zelensky is yet another US puppet. He wants to stop any other nation from daring to attack another nation? What a sick joke. The US has consistently invaded, bombed and destroyed many countries over the past 200 years, all in the name of spreading “democracy”. How did that work out for Iraq and Libya? And the US is currently stealing the oil in Syria after invading it. Please DM, please do some homework on the TRUE history of Ukraine and Russia, plus the US and NATO.

    • Steve Davidson says:

      “And the US is currently stealing the oil in Syria after invading it.”

      And you must stop spreading lies, lady. Chinese ones in this case. Dear heaven, it takes a few minutes to fact check, of which you seem utterly incapable. Here’s Asia Fact Check:

      Over the past few months, China has repeatedly accused the U.S. of “illegally stealing” oil from Syria in an act of “banditry.”

      “Asia Fact Check Lab (AFCL) found that the accusations echo those made by official Syrian media reports. The Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad has no control over the northeast area of the country, which is occupied by the anti-government coalition known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). U.S. and international media have reported that a U.S. company had secured an oil deal in the area, but it did so with the approval of the SDF, which helped to oust ISIS terrorist forces that previously controlled the oil production there. The U.S. currently authorizes non-governmental organizations to purchase petroleum in Syria, but the products have to stay in Syria for non-profit use.”

      • Rama Chandra says:

        Why are there so many young people like Louise Louise in South Africa. We urgently need an overhaul in the education system so that young people like her do not slip through the gap. And heaven knows what will happen to democratic countries when a majority fail to achieve the cognitive standards to determine what is real and what is not. Essentially, we could have a majority of the human race with social schizophrenia electing governments with political schizophrenia.

    • Christian Pirk says:

      I think you should stop spreading lies of the aggressor. Check the history of the two countries. Also, I find your “logic” sick, you are happy that for the (alleged) sins of the USA Ukrainian citizen get killed, raped and deported.
      Every sovereign country has the rights to pick its allies/ friends, so if Ukraine wants to be in NATO, a defence organisation, it is Ukraine’s decision. Following your logic, if your neighbour does not like your choice of security company, your neighbour can plunder and steal from your house.

      There is no justification for this illegal war.

  • David Crossley says:

    Anyone who tries to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is simply brainwashed or totally without a moral compass. Zelensky has shown admirable leadership and restraint against the barbarian Putin and his followers. The tragedy is that should a Republican President be elected to the White House, the current US military aid to Ukraine will probably dry up – with dire consequences to the free world and democracy.

    • Kenny Cameron says:

      Anyone who tries to justify Ukraine’s bombardment and killing of Eastern Ukrainian civilians is simply brainwashed or totally without a moral compass. Putin has shown admirable leadership and restraint against the barbarian Zelensky and his Azov battalions. The tragedy is that should President Biden be re-elected to the White House, the current US military aid to Ukraine will probably continue – with dire consequences to what is left of Ukraine and it’s so called democracy.

      ‘Between April 14, 2014 to January 31, 2019 some 13,000 people have been killed, a quarter of them civilians, and as many as 30,000 wounded. 

The estimated toll includes more than 3,300 civilian deaths, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a document dated February 25 and provided to RFE/RL the same day. Some 13,000 people have been killed, a quarter of them civilians, and as many as 30,000 wounded in the war in eastern Ukraine since it broke out in April 2014, the United Nations says.

      21 October 2014: Human Rights Watch says it has strong evidence Ukraine attacked populated areas of Donetsk with cluster bombs, banned by many other states.’

      This is Ukraine killing their own civilian population that they say they are trying to protect.

      I’ll bet you did not even know there was a war going on in Eastern Ukraine until the Russian SMO.

  • Terence Dowdall says:

    The situation is very simple and clear. Russia has embarked on an unprovoked (though unsuccessful) war to annex Ukraine, a smaller, independent neighbouring country. No amount of Goebbels doublespeak can get around that fact. I don’t however think that it is worth replying to messages like that of “LouiseLouise” – they are almost certainly some labouring apparatchik in the embassy tasked with trying to “fakenews” DM readers.

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