Zelenskyy: Russia is a Terrorist State 06/29 06:16
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused
Russia on Tuesday of becoming "a terrorist" state carrying out "daily terrorist
acts" and urged Russia's expulsion from the United Nations.
In a virtual address to the U.N. Security Council, Zelenskyy urged the U.N.
to establish an international tribunal to investigate "the actions of Russian
occupiers on Ukrainian soil" and to hold the country accountable.
"We need to act urgently to do everything to make Russia stop the killing
spree," Zelenskyy said, warning that otherwise Russia's "terrorist activity"
will spread to other European countries and Asia, singling out the Baltic
states, Poland, Moldova and Kazakhstan.
"What is punished at the level of specific criminals and criminal
organizations must not go unpunished at the level of a state that has become a
terrorist," he said. "Daily terrorist acts. No days off. They work as
terrorists every day."
In urging Russia's ouster from the 193-member United Nations, Zelenskyy
cited Article 6 of the U.N. Charter which states that a member "which has
persistently violated the principles contained in the present Charter may be
expelled from the organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation
of the Security Council."
Russia's expulsion, however, is virtually impossible. That's because as a
permanent council member Russia would be able to use its veto to block any
attempt to oust it.
Ukraine called the council meeting after Russia's recent upsurge in attacks
including Monday's fiery airstrike on a crowded shopping mall in the central
city of Kremenchuk that Zelenskyy said killed at least 18 people and wounded 30
others. "Dozens are missing" and body fragments have been found including hands
and feet, he said, adding that unfortunately there may be more victims.
The Ukrainian leader began his speech listing Russia's attacks in recent
days and giving the first names and ages of many of the victims. He ended his
address asking the 15 Security Council members and others in the chamber to
stand in silent tribute to commemorate the "tens of thousands" of Ukrainian
children and adults killed in the war.
All members rose including Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky.
When he took the floor later, Polyansky protested against giving Zelenskyy a
second opportunity to address the Security Council, a decision by Albanian
which holds the council presidency this month.
The Russian envoy said the Ukrainian president's video address violated the
council's traditions and existing practices which state that leaders who wish
to speak to the council must be present in the chamber.
"The U.N. Security Council should not be turned into a platform for a remote
PR campaign from president Zelenskyy in order to get more weapons from
participants at the NATO summit" starting Wednesday in Madrid, Polyansky said.
He claimed that there was no Russian strike on the shopping center in
Kremenchuk, saying Russian precision weapons struck hangars in the Kremenchuk
road machinery plant with weapons and ammunition from the United States and
Europe destined for Ukrainian troops in eastern Donbass.
The shopping center was some distance away but the detonation of ammunition
"created a fire which then spread to the shopping center," Polyansky said.
The Russian envoy told Western nations that by supplying weapons to Ukraine
they were prolonging the time when Ukraine's leaders "will sit down at the
negotiating table with a realistic position rather than with slogans."
"We began a special military operation in order to stop the shelling of
Donbass by Ukraine and so that the territory of this country, which has been
turned into anti-Russia at the behest of a number of Western countries, as well
as its nationalist leadership, ceases to pose a threat to Russia or the
inhabitants of the south and southeast of Ukraine," he said. "And until those
goals are achieved, our operation will continue."
Britain's U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward retorted that Russia "can try to
claim that nothing is true and make outrageous claims of Ukrainian
provocations" but the undeniable fact is that Russia invaded Ukraine.
"There is one aggressor here," she said. "The evidence will catch up with
them and there will be accountability for these crimes."
Ambassador Zhang Jun of China, a close ally of Russia, called the conflict
"a geopolitical crisis" with multi-faceted spillover effects and urged the
international community to work together to create conditions for
Russian-Ukrainian peace talks to end hostilities at an early date.
"Attempts to weaponize the world economy and to coerce other countries into
taking sides will artificially divide the international community, and make the
world even less secure," Zhang warned. "Delaying and obstructing diplomatic
negotiations for geopolitical purposes will only add fuel to the fire to
intensify confrontation and magnify conflicts. Inevitably, it will end up
U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills, like many other Western ambassadors,
accused Russia of destroying the shopping center, saying the attack "fits into
a cruel pattern, one where the Russian military kills civilians and destroys
civilian infrastructure in Ukraine."
He stressed that there is ample publicly available evidence "that Russia,
and Russia alone" is responsible for this and other attacks.