Ukrainian Leader Volodymyr Zelensky Addresses UN After Putin Threat; Demands Punishment For Russia

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New York: Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky demanded that the world punish Russia in a dramatic video address to the UN General Assembly, where US President Joe Biden accused Moscow of violating basic international norms.

Laying out what he called his conditions for peace, Zelensky — the sole leader allowed to address the summit virtually — called 15 times for “punishment” of Russia over its invasion.

“Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory. Punishment for the murders of thousands of people. Punishment for tortures and humiliations of women and men,” Zelensky said in English in a pre-recorded video.

Sporting his signature green military T-shirt, Zelensky received a rare standing ovation in the General Assembly, which has returned in person after two years of pandemic restrictions.

Zelensky called for a special tribunal to hold Russia accountable, saying it would be a “signal to all would-be aggressors.”

He also demanded a compensation fund, saying Russia “should pay for this war with its own assets.”

His address came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin mobilised reservists and made a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons, signs that he is in no rush to end the war.

Zelensky made clear he saw no point to immediate talks, saying Russia only used diplomacy to buy time on the battlefield.

“Russia is afraid of real negotiations and does not want to fulfill any fair international obligations. It lies to everyone — as is typical for aggressors, for terrorists.”

Zelensky has become a symbol of resistance in the West, which has responded with wide sanctions on Russia and billions of dollars in military equipment for Ukraine.

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