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Home World News Washington Post World News Zelenskyy: Russia is not serious about ending war in Ukraine

Zelenskyy: Russia is not serious about ending war in Ukraine

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UNITED NATIONS – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested on Wednesday that Russia’s decision to mobilize some reservists shows that Moscow does not seriously intend to negotiate an end to the nearly seven-month-long war.

Speaking by video before the UN General Assembly of World Leaders hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement, Zelenskyy insisted that his country would prevail in repelling the Russian attack and forcing its troops.

“We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the power of weapons,” the president said. “But we need time.”

Putin’s decree Wednesday on the partial mobilization was sparse on details. Officials said as many as 300,000 reservists could be tapped. It was apparently an attempt to seize momentum after a Ukrainian counter-offensive this month recaptured parts of territory the Russians had occupied.

But the first such call in Russia since World War II also brings the fighting home in a new way for the Russians and threatens to fuel domestic fear and antipathy towards the war. Shortly after Putin’s announcement, flights quickly filled the country and hundreds of people were arrested in anti-war demonstrations across the country.

A day earlier, the Russian-controlled parts of eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans for referendums to become part of Russia. Ukrainian leaders and their Western allies consider the votes illegitimate.

Zelenskyy did not go into detail about the developments. But he suggested that any Russian talk of negotiations is just a delaying tactic, and Moscow’s actions speak louder than words.

“They talk about the talks, but announce military mobilization. They are talking about the talks but are announcing pseudo-referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine,” he said.

Zelenskyy appeared as he has in many previous video appearances – in an olive green T-shirt. He was seated at a table with a Ukrainian flag behind his right shoulder and a large image of the UN and Ukraine flag behind his left shoulder. He turned out to be in a conference room.

He believed that Moscow wants to spend the winter preparing its troops in Ukraine for a new offensive, or at least preparing reinforcements and mobilizing more troops.

“Russia wants war. It’s true. But Russia will not be able to stop the course of history,” he said, declaring that “humanity and international law are stronger” than what he called a “terrorist state.”

The war, the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II, has dominated the global gathering.

Given the circumstances, Zelenskyy was not on the August podium where other presidents, prime ministers and monarchs speak at the most prominent annual meeting of international diplomacy. Instead, he got an exception to speak via video.

Drafting several “conditions for peace” in Ukraine, sometimes extending to broader regulations for improving world order, he urged world leaders to strip Russia of its voice in international institutions and the UN Security Council veto. , saying aggressors should be punished and isolated.

The fighting has already led to some actions against Russia in UN bodies. The move that angered a number of other countries and sparked action this spring in the wider General Assembly, where resolutions are not binding but there are no vetoes.

The assembly voted overwhelmingly in March to deplore Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, call for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of all Russian armed forces, and call for the protection of millions of civilians. The following month, a smaller but still impressive number of members voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

But as a permanent member of its most powerful entity, the Security Council, Russia was able to veto a demand to stop the attack on Ukraine days after it began.

Zelenskyy’s speech was one of the long-awaited at a meeting that this year has dwelt on the war in his country. But it wasn’t the first time the first-term president has been in the spotlight at the General Assembly’s annual meeting of presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and foreign ministers.

At last year’s General Assembly meeting, Zelenskyy memorably likened the UN to “a retired superhero who has long forgotten how awesome they once were,” as he repeated calls for action to confront Russia’s 2014 annexation of the United Nations. Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its support for the separatists.

Associated Press journalist Andrew Katell contributed from New York.

For more AP coverage of the UN General Assembly, visit https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly



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