Ukraine's Zelenskiy says world must make global rule of law 'work again'

Ukraine's President Zelenskiy speaks with India's PM Modi via phone line in Kyiv

By Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged world leaders on Wednesday to make a rules-based international order "work again" by standing up to Russian use of force.

In a video address to a global conference hosted by South Korea, Zelenskiy - whose country was invaded by Russia in 2022 - said many nations and regions of the world would benefit from the restoration of the international rule of law.

"Together we have to make the force that has gone mad come back to the rules, and make the rules work again," he told the Summit for Democracy, an initiative of U.S. President Joe Biden aimed at discussing ways to stop democratic backsliding and erosion of rights and freedoms.

Zelenskiy said that for peace to prevail, the U.S. Congress - where political wrangling has held up passage of a bill that would provide $60 billion more in aid for Ukraine - must join the world in being the "co-authors of solid reliability."

Kyiv and its Western partners have accused Russia of using false pretexts to wage an unjustified war of colonial conquest in Ukraine. Russia says it sent troops to Ukraine two years ago in a "special military operation" to ensure its own security.

Biden, a Democrat, has backed military aid to Ukraine since Russia's invasion. Some members of Congress and former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican candidate in the U.S. presidential election in November, have opposed it.

This year's Summit for Democracy largely focused on digital threats to elections and democracy, including AI-powered misinformation, spyware, and other technology.

Russia's defence minister said on Wednesday that Russian troops were pushing Ukrainian forces back, and that Moscow would bolster its military by adding two new armies and 30 new formations by the end of this year.

Russia said last month its goals in Ukraine remain unchanged, including the demilitarisation and "denazification" of occupied regions, and preserving the broader security of Russia in the face of NATO encroachment.

(Reporting by Josh Smith, Editing by Timothy Heritage)