New York: Comparing Russian war crimes in Ukraine to that of the Islamic State (Daesh), Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that UNSC should either close down and dissolve itself or undertake drastic reforms and throw out Russia from the Council if it wants to do more than talk and fulfill its mandate to maintain international peace and security.
Zelensky, who ended his virtual speech to UNSC with a video, which showed bodies littered on streets, dead children, and mass graves in different Ukrainian cities, including Bucha, also said that ‘punishing Russia’ was essential to preventing future war-time crimes and said that Moscow has turned its veto in the Council into the “right to die”.
Russia rejected the allegations, alleged that Ukraine was being run by Nazis, accused Ukrainian forces of killing people and staging videos, and said it was determined to “cut out the malignant Nazi tumor” in Ukraine.
But it was Zelensky’s graphic speech that was the highlight of the Council’s deliberations on Ukraine. It came soon after the discovery of civilian killings and mass graves in Bucha, soon after Russia withdrew troops from near Kyiv that has sparked global outrage and led to calls for war crimes investigation.
Terming Russians as colonizers, the Ukrainian president said it was time to “punish Russia” – and doing so will show other potential war criminals how they will be punished too. He claimed that if action had been taken when Russia displayed aggression in Crimea, Molodova, Georgia, and “tyranny had received a response”, then the world would have been different.
“Although there is the UNSC, where is the peace? The key institution of the world simply cannot act effectively…If this continues, countries will rely on their power of own arms to ensure their own security, not on international law, not on international institutions.”
And if this was the case, Zelensky said it was time to “simply close the UN”.
The Ukrainian leader told UNSC that it had two choices. “Either remove Russia as an aggressor and source of war so that it cannot make a decision. The next option is to dissolve yourselves altogether if there is nothing you can do besides conversation. Ukraine and Europe need peace.”