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Russia's crimes in Ukraine no different from those by IS, Zelenskyy tells UNSC

By Yoshita Singh
April 05, 2022 21:59 IST
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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that the atrocities committed by Russian troops are no different from terrorists like the Islamic State extremists as he demanded immediate action to bring the Kremlin's forces to justice for "war crimes".

"Yesterday I returned from our city of Bucha, recently liberated from Russian troops not far from Kiev. There is not a single crime that they would not commit there. The Russian military searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our country," Zelenskyy said in his first address to the UN Security Council.

 

Giving a detailed account of the brutalities conducted by the Russian forces, he said, "This is no different from other terrorists such as Daesh who occupied some territories. And here it is done by a member of the United Nations Security Council, destroying internal unity, borders and countries."

"We are dealing with a State that is turning the veto in the UN Security Council into the right to die," he said in his impassioned address to the UNSC.

"This undermines the whole architecture of global security. It allows them to go unpunished."

He asserted that the UN system must be reformed immediately ”so that the veto is not the right to die.”

"The Russian military and those who gave them orders must be brought to justice immediately for war crimes in Ukraine," he said, adding that anyone who has given criminal orders and carried them out by killing "our people will be brought before the tribunal which should be similar to the Nuremberg tribunals."

After his address, he asked for a video to be played in the Security Council that showed horrific images of corpses lying on the streets, charred bodies and pictures of mass graves across various Ukrainian cities. Some of the dead had their hands tied behind their backs and mouths gagged, including children.

In his nearly 20-minute video address to the Council meeting on Ukraine, being attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Zelenskyy questioned that where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee. "It's not there, although there is a Security Council, but where is the peace,” he said.

He demanded maximum access for journalists and involvement of the International Criminal Court for complete truth and full accountability to ensure that the war crimes do not go unpunished.

"Those who consider themselves privileged and believe that they can get away with anything," he said, adding that all the other potential war criminals in the world should be shown how they will be punished. "If the biggest one is punished, then everyone is punished."

Demanding reform of the Council, he said it is obvious that the key institution of the world that must ensure international peace and security "simply cannot work effectively."

He said if the war and brutality continues, then nations will rely only on the power of their own arms to ensure their security and not on international law and institutions.

"The United Nations can be simply closed. Are you ready to close the UN? Do you think that the time of international law is gone? If your answer is no, then you need to act immediately. The UN Charter must be restored immediately," he said.

He said the massacre being witnessed in Bucha is "unfortunately only one of many examples of what the occupiers have been doing on our land for the past 41 days.”

The Ukrainian leader said he knows that Russia will ”blame everyone just to justify their own actions” and even say that the videos showing corpses strewn across the streets in Bucha are ”staged” but this is 2022 and there is ”conclusive evidence, satellite images, and we can conduct full and transparent investigation.”

He asserted that it is time to transform the system, the United Nations and proposed to convene a global conference in Kiev ”to determine how we are going to reform the world security system.”

"It is now clear that the goals set in San Francisco in 1945 for the creation of a global security international organisation have not been achieved, and it is impossible to achieve them without reform," he said.

Zelenskyy asserted that ”we need decisions from the Security Council for peace in Ukraine.”

”If you do not know how to make this decision, you can do two things. Either remove Russia as an aggressor and a source of war so it cannot block decisions about its own aggression, its own war. And then do everything that we can do to establish peace. Or the other option is please show how we can reform or change, dissolve yourself and work for peace. Or if there is no alternative and no option, then the next option would be dissolve yourself altogether."

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Yoshita Singh in United Nations
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