New York: Diplomats are laying the groundwork for a potential visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the General Debate at the UN General Assembly, which would be his first trip abroad since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
“We are prepared for the visit of any official, including the president,” a spokesperson for the Ukrainian mission to the UN, Anatoly Slenko, told DPA news agency.
Zelensky is listed as a speaker on the agenda for the UN’s biggest annual event in September, but Slenko stressed that this could change, adding that whether the trip would actually take place was “still unclear”.
UN Security Council sources confirmed that the Ukrainian mission was planning Zelensky’s visit to the annual meeting of heads of state and government.
However, the diplomats also made it clear that any trip by the President could pose a grave danger to his life. They also said a decision on the issue would be linked to military developments in Ukraine.
This year, the General Debate will take place at UN Headquarters in New York from September 20. Speakers will include US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The presence of the Ukrainian president in the great hall of the Assembly is likely to have a significant symbolic impact given the ongoing war at home. Zelensky is only known to have traveled within Ukraine a few times since the war began for security reasons.