UN General Assembly: Zelensky outlines 5-part Ukraine war peace plan in scathing speech against Russia

·32-min read

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky detailed Russian atrocities and described a sweeping peace plan to end the war in an address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

“How can we allow the Russian army somewhere on Ukrainian soil, knowing that they are committing such mass murder everywhere?” Mr Zelensky asked. “We cannot. We must protect life. The world must protect life.”

He called on the international community to temporarily strip Russia of its UN powers, continue sanctions, and establish a special tribunal to oversee the peace process.

Joe Biden condemned Russia for making “overt nuclear threats against Europe” in a a speech of his own on Wednesday, as European foreign ministers convened an urgent meeting to discuss Russian mobilisation.

Mr Biden said Russia was carrying out a “brutal, needless war” against Ukraine as he announced support for countries impacted by food shortages that have resulted from the invasion.

His speech comes a day after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of 300,000 reservists as his forces struggle to regain their footing after a series of Ukrainian victories on the battlefield.

Russia's war in Ukraine dominated the first day of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as world leaders gathered for the summit in person after three years in New York.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the 77th meeting was taking place at a time when the world is in "great peril" and "paralyzed" due to the war, climate chaos, hate, poverty and inequality. World leaders denounced Russia's invasion.

Key Points

  • 'Polluters must pay', says UN chief as he warns of ‘winter of global discontent’

  • Ukraine war dominates day one as world leaders condemn Russia

  • No nation can stay ‘indifferent’ on Ukraine war, says France’s Macron

  • Brazil’s Bolsonaro uses UN speech to campaign for upcoming polls

Wednesday 21 September 2022 05:11 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Welcome to The Independent’s live blog on the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

UN chief calls for windfall tax on fossil fuel firms

Wednesday 21 September 2022 06:33 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The United Nations secretary-general has called on all developed nations to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies.

Antonio Guterres said the taxed funds should be redirected to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices.

“The fossil fuel industry is feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits while household budgets shrink and our planet burns,” he told the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

“Polluters must pay.”His remarks come after Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, has made clear she is against a windfall tax.

Saphora Smith has more.

Tax fossil fuel companies windfall profits, UN chief says

World leaders condemn Russia’s war

Wednesday 21 September 2022 06:34 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

World leaders meeting at the United Nations in New York denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Turkey offering to broker peace between the two countries.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz said Putin will only give up his “imperial ambitions” that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia if he recognises he cannot win the war.

“This is why we will not accept any peace dictated by Russia and this is why Ukraine must be able to fend off Russia’s attack,” Mr Scholz said in his first address to the General Assembly.

Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida told the assembly the UN’s credibility was in danger because of the invasion by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, and reforms of the UNSC were needed.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a conduct that tramples the philosophy and principles of the UN charter ... It should never be tolerated,” Mr Kishida said.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has tried to mediate with the Kremlin since Russia’s invasion on 24 February, called on Moscow to return captured territory in Ukraine.

“We think the war will never have a triumph, and a fair peace process will not have a loser,” he said.

“We are always underlining the significance of diplomacy in the settlement of the dispute.”

UN chief warns nations are ‘gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction’

Wednesday 21 September 2022 06:35 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres has warned that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction.”

Speaking at the General Assembly’s annual high-level meeting, he said the international community is not “ready or willing” to tackle the challenges that threaten the future of humanity.

Mr Guterres warned world leaders that progress on such “big issues” is being “held hostage” by geopolitical tensions, leaving the world “paralysed.”

Antonio Guterres warns nations are ‘gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction’

No nation can stay ‘indifferent’ on Ukraine war, says Macron

Wednesday 21 September 2022 06:36 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

French president Emanuel Macron urged countries not to stay neutral about condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine as he called Moscow’s invasion a new form of imperialism.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly gathering of world leaders, Mr Macron insisted that any negotiation to end the more than six-month-old war can succeed only “if Ukraine’s sovereignty is respected, its territory liberated and its security protected.”

“Who here can defend the idea that the invasion of Ukraine justifies no sanction?” he asked.

“Who of you here can consider that the day when something similar with a more powerful neighbour happens to you, there’ll be silence from the region, from the world?”

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro uses UN speech to campaign for presidential polls

Wednesday 21 September 2022 06:48 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Brazil’s far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, who is seeking reelection next month, used his speech at the General Assembly to promote the merits of his administration.

His speech focused on the economy and the welfare program distributed to millions of Brazilians during the pandemic.

“In spite of the global crisis, Brazil reached the end of 2022 with an economy in full recovery,” Mr Bolsonaro said, stressing a falling unemployment rate and disinflation in Latin America’s largest nation.

He repeated his willingness to foster negotiations to resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, while calling for a ceasefire.

However, Mr Bolsonaro renounced sanctions and economic isolation.

Ukraine's first lady and PM arrive in New York for UNGA

Wednesday 21 September 2022 06:52 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, has arrived in New York with prime minister Denys Shmyhal to attend the 77th UN General Assembly meeting.

South Korean president warns of threat to freedom and peace

Wednesday 21 September 2022 08:26 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol, in his address to the General Assembly, warned that freedom and peace in the global community were yet again in “jeopardy.”

Attempts to “alter the status quo by force, nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and systemic violations of human rights” must be overcome, he said.

However, he made no mention of the threat on South Korea’s own doorstep — North Korea.

“When freedom of any citizen or nation in the global community is in peril,” he said, adding, “it is the community of nations that must stand together in solidarity to defend that freedom.”

Middle Eastern leaders raise Israel-Palestine conflict

Wednesday 21 September 2022 09:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The leaders of two Middle Eastern countries raised the Israel-Palestine conflict during their speeches at the General Assembly, urging the UN Security Council to “shoulder its responsibility”.

The emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said UNSC must compel Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.

He said: “The Security Council must shoulder its responsibility and must compel Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories and to establish a Palestinian state along the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

King Abdullah II of Jordan stressed on Palestinians’ right to self-determination while asking the international community to show more support for Palestinian refugees.

“In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, peace continues to be elusive,” said Mr Abdullah.

“It is the people themselves, not politics and politicians, who will have to come together and push their leaders to resolve this.”

The Jordanian King met Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid on the sidelines of the session to discuss the recent escalation between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank.

Russia’s Sergey Lavrov arrives in New York

Wednesday 21 September 2022 10:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in New York today to take part in the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

According to reports, his visit was delayed until the very last minute due to issues with the logistics of obtaining US visas.

He is expected to hold nearly 20 meetings on the sidelines of the session. Mr Lavrov will address the gathering on Saturday.

Pakistan PM to highlight devastating flood situation

Wednesday 21 September 2022 11:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Pakistan prime minister Shehbaz Sharif said he would apprise the world about his country’s “massive human tragedy” left in the wake of devastating floods.

“Reached New York a few hours ago to tell Pakistan’s story to the world, a story of deep anguish & pain arising out of a massive human tragedy caused by floods,” he tweeted yesterday.

“In my address at UNGA and bilateral meetings, I will present Pakistan’s case on issues that call for world’s immediate attention.”

Mr Sharif is expected to hold bilateral talks with several world leaders and attend the reception of the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.

Although there is no bilateral meeting scheduled with US president Joe Biden, Mr Sharif will reportedly interact with him informally during a reception.

Liz Truss to meet Biden and Macron in New York

Wednesday 21 September 2022 12:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Liz Truss will meet Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron in New York against the backdrop of Brexit tensions and questions over whether she regards the French leader a “friend or foe”.

On her first foreign trip as Prime Minister, Ms Truss flew overnight to the US for the annual UN General Assembly.

The visit will contain a series of meetings, including with the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen, and a speech to world leaders. It comes as political action resumes after the period of national mourning for the Queen.

Sam Blewett has more.

Liz Truss flying to New York for meetings with Biden and Macron

Turkey rakes Kashmir at UNGA

Wednesday 21 September 2022 13:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan raked up the Kashmir issue at the ongoing 77th session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is at the heart of a decades-old dispute between India and Pakistan, where both countries claim the region as theirs, but control only parts of it.

Mr Erdogan, a close ally of Pakistan said, he hopes for “permanent peace” in the region.

“India and Pakistan, after having established their sovereignty and independence 75 years ago, they still haven’t established peace and solidarity between one another,” he said.

“This is much unfortunate. We hope and pray that a fair and permanent peace and prosperity will be established in Kashmir.”

Iranian president rails against Trump at UNGA

Wednesday 21 September 2022 14:49 , Richard Hall

President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran railed against former president Donald Trump in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Mr Raisi attacked Mr Trump for authorising the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, whom he described as a “freedom seeking man who became a martyr,” as he held aloft a photograph of the late Quds Force commander.

Without mentioning Mr Trump by name, Mr Raisi said the “previous president of the United States of America effectively managed to sign the document of this savage crime, and illegal crime and immoral crime.”

“The proper pursuit of justice in the face of a crime that the American president admitted to have put his signature on will not be abandoned. We will pursue through a fair tribunal, to bring to justice those who martyred our beloved general Qassem Soleimani,” he added.

Mr Raisi also criticised the Trump administration for abandoning the comprehensive deal brokered by the US and European powers to limit Iran’s nuclear programme.

“America trampled upon the nuclear accord,” said Mr Raisi, who was sworn-in as president only a year ago.

Mr Raisi’s speech comes as protests are breaking out across Iran in recent days over the death of a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s religious dress code.

Police and security services have violently cracked down on those protests.

Israel’s ambassador walks out of assembly hall at start of Iran president’s speech

Wednesday 21 September 2022 15:23 , Richard Hall

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations walked out of the general assembly hall as Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi began his speech on Wednesday.

Ambassador Gilad Erdan, held aloft a photograph of his grandmothers, Holocaust survivors who spent time in Auschwitz, and other family members who were killed.

In an interview ahead of the general assembly, Mr Raisi cast doubt on the Holocaust, as many other Iranian leaders have done in the past.

“There are some signs that it happened. If so, they should allow it to be investigated and researched,” he told CBS News.

Iran says it does not want nuclear weapons

Wednesday 21 September 2022 15:37 , Richard Hall

Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi said his country does not want nuclear weapons and wishes to revive the agreement with the West over its nuclear programme, but cast doubt on Washington’s commitment to a deal.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is not seeking to build or obtain nuclear weapons, and such weapons have no place in our doctrine,” Mr Raisi said.

Former US president Donald Trump abandoned the comprehensive nuclear deal brokered by the US, under Barack Obama, and European powers.

“America trampled upon the nuclear accord,” said Mr Raisi, who was sworn in as president only a year ago.

“Our wish is only one thing: observance of commitments,” Mr Raisi said, before asking if Iran could “truly trust without guarantees and assurances” that the US will not do the same again.

European and US officials have been locked in negotiations with Iran to revive the deal, but progress has stalled recently.

Biden to announce $2.9bn in food aid at UNGA

Wednesday 21 September 2022 15:53 , Richard Hall

Joe Biden will use his speech to the UN general assembly to announce $2.9 billion in global food security aid to address shortages caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and climate change.

"This new announcement of $2.9 billion will save lives through emergency interventions and invest in medium to long term food security assistance in order to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations from the escalating global food security crisis," the White House said.

Some $2billion of the funding will go to direct humanitarian assistance through the United States Agency for International Development.

Biden condemns Russia’s 'brutal, needless war’ in Ukraine

Wednesday 21 September 2022 16:21 , Richard Hall

Joe Biden condemned Russia’s “brutal, needless war” in Ukraine in an address to the UN general assembly.

Mr Biden said Russia “attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map, and has “shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter.”

Mr Biden’s remarks came a day after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of 300,000 troops to shore up his forces, which have been pushed back in recent weeks by the Ukrainian army.

“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state,” Mr Biden added.

Biden says Russia made ‘overt nuclear threats’ against Europe

Wednesday 21 September 2022 16:31 , Richard Hall

Joe Biden accused Russia of making “overt nuclear threats against Europe” in his address to the UN general assembly.

Mr Biden’s comments come a day after Russian president Vladimir Putin appeared to threaten a nuclear response to his military failures in Ukraine.

“President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of a non-proliferation regime,” Mr Biden said.

He added that Russia has “shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter.”

A day earlier, Mr Putin said in a national televised address: “Russia will use all the instruments at its disposal to counter a threat against its territorial integrity—this is not a bluff.”

Biden backs Iran protesters

Wednesday 21 September 2022 16:47 , Richard Hall

Joe Biden expressed support for protests across Iran that were sparked by the death of a woman who arrested by the country’s morality police.

“Today, we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran, who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights,” he said in a speech to the UN general assembly.

Mr Biden’s comments come as Iranians have taken to the streets to protest the death of a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody after being arrested for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict religious dress code.

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iranian Kurdistan, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for “unsuitable attire”.

Iranian authorities said Tuesday that three people have been killed in the unrest so far, including one member of the security forces.

Biden announces food aid to address shortages caused by Ukraine

Wednesday 21 September 2022 16:59 , Richard Hall

Joe Biden announced a new package of $2.9 billion in US support for humanitarian and food assistance in response to food shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and climate change.

Mr Biden said around 193 million people around the world are experiencing acute food insecurity, “a jump of 40 million in a year.”

He also rejected Moscow’s claims that sanctions against Russia were to blame for the crisis.

“Russia … is pumping out lies, trying to pin the blame for the crisis — the food crisis — on the sanctions imposed by many in the world for the aggression against Ukraine. So let me be perfectly clear about something: Our sanctions explicitly allow, explicitly allow, Russia the ability to export food and fertilizer. No limitation,” he said.

Donald Trump warns of ‘World War III' over Ukraine

Wednesday 21 September 2022 17:02 , Richard Hall

Former US president Donald Trump warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could “end up being World War III.”

Mr Trump’s comments came a day after Vladimir Putin appeared to threaten nuclear strikes in response to Russia’s failure to achieve its objectives in Ukraine.

“President Putin of Russia is now threatening the use of Nuclear Weapons, saying ‘It is not a bluff.’ The Ukrainian conflict should never have happened, and would not have happened if I were President. But as I have made very clear for quite some time, this could now end up being World War III,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social.

A day earlier, Mr Putin said in a nationally televised address: “Russia will use all the instruments at its disposal to counter a threat against its territorial integrity—this is not a bluff.”

Biden has some choice words for Putin — and China

Wednesday 21 September 2022 17:53 , Jenna Amatulli

Russian president Vladimir Putin will not attend the UN General Assembly in New York this week, instead choosing to send a foreign minister. But he has managed to cast a long shadow over the proceedings nevertheless. In an address to the nation earlier today, Putin told Russian citizens that he would be “partially mobilizing” people on reserve lists and with prior military experience to help with the war in Ukraine. Considering this was supposed to be a two-week venture with few military losses, it’s hard to read this as anything less than an admission of failure. Putin also ramped up the rhetoric on nuclear weapons, saying that he would use “all means” to defend his citizens and adding that “those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the prevailing winds can turn in their direction”.

President Biden’s address to the 77th Session today was expected to focus on those strong words — and he delivered. Just after 10.45am local time, the US president spoke to the gathered world leaders, plus that Russian foreign minister and the minister sent in place of Chinese president Xi Jinping. (Although Xi’s absence could signal China’s allegiance with Russia over the war in Ukraine, Putin admitted just this week that China had “questions and concerns” about how long it was dragging on.)

“Putin’s own words make his aims unmistakable,” the US president said, before quoting Putin’s claims about Ukraine belonging historically to Russia.

“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, pure and simple,” Biden added later. “Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should make your blood run cold.”

Holly Baxter reports for The Independent:

Biden sent a clear message to Putin in his UN speech

Ecuador’s president calls for UN to help migrants amid surge in Venezuelans stopped at US border

Wednesday 21 September 2022 18:10 , Jenna Amatulli

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso implored other countries to offer more help to migrants -- specifically those from Venezuela -- seeking refuge during his address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

Mr Lasso told the delegation that Ecuador “welcomes migrants” and that the country has traditionally “been one of the biggest host countries of refugees in the entire Western Hemisphere.” He added that Ecuador provides migrants with not only social services, but assistance with the legal immigration process.

“These people have no other option other than to flee. For example, half a million Venezuelans today live in Ecuador we are one of the three main destinations for migrants from this country,” he said.

He then went on to call on others to support Ecuador in its work to help those who are fleeing their home countries.

“This is why I repeat — Ecuador is there for the world. The world can count on Ecuador and I know that the world will support us for this plan for regularizing the status of our Venezuelan brethren who have had to flee their country,” Mr Lasso said.

Mr Lasso’s remarks come in the wake of Florida Gov Ron DeSantis sending two planes of undocumented migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts last week. Of those sent to the island, Axios reported that “some 50” were “believed to be from Venezuela.”

Officials told the Associated Press on Monday that the number of Venezuelans who have been taken into custody at the US and Mexico border “soared in August.” The organization noted that Venezuelans were stopped a whopping 25,349 times in August, which is “up 43% from 17,652 times in July and four times the 6,301 stops recorded in August 2021.”

Macron hits out at Putin’s mobilisation call

Wednesday 21 September 2022 18:54 , Richard Hall

French president Emmanuel Macron criticised Russian president Vladimir Putin’s declaration of a partial military mobilisation on Wednesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN general assembly, Mr Macron decried the decision "to drag (Putin’s) country, and in particular his country’s youth, into the war."

"And so today, Russia is increasingly isolated," he added.

Mr Macron’s remarks come a day after Mr Putin announced a partial mobilisation of 300,000 troops to shore up his forces, which have been pushed back in recent weeks by the Ukrainian army.

His comments came as US president Joe Biden condemned Russia’s “brutal, needless war” in Ukraine in a speech to the UN general assembly.

Moldova’s president joins chorus of condemnation against Russia

Wednesday 21 September 2022 19:46 , Richard Hall

Moldova’s president Maia Sandu spoke out against Russia’ invasion of Ukraine and its occupation of the breakaway region of Transnistria at the UN general assembly.

“This war is not just an attack on our neighbour and friend Ukraine, it is an attack on the rules-based international order. It is an attack on nuclear safety. It is an attack on food supplies to countries in the Middle East and Africa,” she told the chamber.

“We all want peace,” she added, before outlining the cost of the war and associated food crisis on her country.

“Our resources are strained. Investments have slowed down. Trade and transport routes are disrupted. Inflation is nearing 35 per cent,” she said.

She also called for the “complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops” from the Transnistria region of Moldova.

“In the face of man-made human suffering… the countries of the world must stand together once again. We must do so to reaffirm the value of peace and the inviolability of human life to defend democracy and freedom and to uphold the right of every country to decide their own fate,” she concluded.

European foreign ministers meet to discuss new Putin threat

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:01 , Richard Hall

European foreign ministers are set to meet on the sidelines of the UN general assembly Wednesday to discuss new support for Ukraine following Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to mobilise some 300,000 troops for his war effort.

The urgent meeting also aims to address Russia’s announced intention to annex parts of southern Ukraine that it captured early in the conflict.

"The ministers have to discuss this threat, to reiterate the continuing support to Ukraine and to alert the international community about the unacceptable situation in which Putin is putting all of us," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters.

He added that ministers would discuss an eighth sanctions package on Russia, as well as additional support for the war effort.

“It’s clear Russia wants to destroy Ukraine,” Mr Borrell said. “We will not be intimidated.”

Yesterday, Mr Putin announced a partial mobilisation of 300,000 troops to shore up his forces, which have been pushed back in recent weeks by the Ukrainian army.

Planned walkouts from Russia’s speech and the elephant in the room: Inside the UN General Assembly

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:45 , Richard Hall

We’re back. It’s the Super Bowl of intergovernmental meetings, the annual event the shareholders of Ferrero Rocher dream of. This week is the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly — and the most important date in the calendar for diplomats like me.

This year’s General Assembly couldn’t be more timely; yet global optimism and internal morale at the UN are both low. Voices calling for recovery from the Covid pandemic are being drowned out by the noise of world leaders condemning the Ukrainian crisis. Diplomats representing countries around the world have been arguing among themselves about which is a bigger and more urgent problem — with the exception of the president of Colombia, who chose to dedicate most of his own speech to fentanyl addiction. So unexpected was this that there was some bemusement about whether the translators were translating his speech accurately. They were.

The truth is that within this melange of pageantry, prestige and purported progress, many issues are neglected. This year, there’s a clear elephant in the room. No wonder a lot of people are worried about the UN’s impotence — not least the people, like myself, who work within it.

Emin Pasha reports for The Independent:

Inside the UN General Assembly, diplomats are losing their minds

Hungary’s president warns against ‘escalation’ in Ukraine

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:55 , Richard Hall

Hungary’s president Katalin Novák warned of the “threat of escalation” in Ukraine and called for war crimes investigations into abuses against civilians.

“It is in the strongest possible terms that we call for the investigation of war crimes committed against innocent civilians,” she told the UN general assembly.

“These crimes must be documented, investigated and prosecuted by the relevant international institutions, so no crimes can go unpunished,” she added.

Hungary is Russia’s closest ally in Europe and has in the past threatened to veto tougher sanctions against Moscow in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.

Ms Novák ended her speech with a call for peace.

“What do we want in the UN? To win the war? We should not stand to win any war. We need to stand for restoring the peace,” she said.

Prime minister Liz Truss and president Biden discuss ‘belligerent’ Russia during summit meeting

Wednesday 21 September 2022 22:12 , Josh Marcus

UK prime minister Liz Truss and US president Joe Biden met on Wednesday during the United Nations General Assembly.

The transatlantic allies discussed issues ranging from Iran and North Ireland, to the war in Ukraine.

“The leaders condemned Putin’s recent belligerent statements on Ukraine,” according to a Downing Street readout of the discussion.

“They agreed his actions highlight the need for allies to continue their economic and military support to Ukraine.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky address UN

Wednesday 21 September 2022 22:21 , Josh Marcus

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is now addressing the UN General Assembly.

Watch his remarks here.

‘A crime has been committed against Ukraine,’ Zelensky tells UNGA

Wednesday 21 September 2022 22:29 , Josh Marcus

The president of Ukraine is urging the international community to punish Russia for the the “crime” of its Ukraine invasion.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in a pre-recorded address.

“The crime was committed against our state border,” he added. “The crime was committed against the lives of our people. The crime was committed against the dignity of our women and men. The crime was committed against the values that make you and me a community of the United Nations.”

The president’s speech called out Russia for “trying to steal our territory” and committing the “murders of thousands of people,” as well as the “tortures and humiliations of women and men.”

‘We will not be intimidated’: European foreign ministers convene urgent meeting to discuss new Putin threat

Wednesday 21 September 2022 22:35 , Josh Marcus

European foreign ministers are set to meet on the sidelines of the UN general assembly on Wednesday to discuss new support for Ukraine following Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to partially mobilise some 300,000 reservist troops for his war effort.

The urgent meeting also aims to address Russia’s intention to annex parts of southern Ukraine that it captured early in the conflict through hastily arranged referendums while fighting is ongoing.

“The ministers have to discuss this threat, to reiterate the continuing support to Ukraine and to alert the international community about the unacceptable situation in which Putin is putting all of us,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters.

“It’s clear Russia wants to destroy Ukraine,” Mr Borrell said. “We will not be intimidated.”

Richard Hall has the full story.

European foreign ministers convene urgent meeting to discuss new Putin threat

Zelensky calls for ‘punishment’ of Russia to bring an end to the war in Ukraine

Wednesday 21 September 2022 22:54 , Josh Marcus

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky called for Russia to face “punishment” for its invasion of his country in an address to the United Nations general assembly on Wednesday.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment,” he told the chamber in a more than fifteen minute long pre-recorded speech.

“The crime was committed against the lives of our people, against the dignity of our women and men, against the values that make you and me a community of the UN.”

Richard Hall has more.

Zelensky calls for ‘punishment’ of Russia to end war in Ukraine

Ukrainian president lays out peace plan in UN speech

Wednesday 21 September 2022 23:10 , Josh Marcus

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky outlined a five-part peace plan to end the Russian invasion during his speech before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

Mr Zelensky called for a host of different measures, including establishing a special tribunal for the war, applying sanctions, temporarily stripping Russia of UN Security Council powers, and putting personal restrictions on top officials the Ukrainian leader described as “propagandists.”“Russia should pay for this war with its assets,” Mr Zelensky said, blasting Russian officials  “who value money above everything else.”

The plan also called for the international community to aid in the protection of life and territorial security in Ukraine, as Mr Zelensky described horrors from the war like the siege of Bucha, where bodies were left in the street to rot, and the mass graves at Izyum.

“How can we allow the Russian army somewhere on Ukrainian soil, knowing that they are committing such mass murder everywhere?” Mr Zelensky asked. “We cannot. We must protect life. The world must protect life.”

Other parts of the “peace formula” proposed by the Ukrainian president include continued financial and military support for Ukraine, legally security guarantees, and a declaration that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism.

Throughout the speech, Mr Zelensky attacked Russia and praised the bravery of Ukraine’s military.

“There is only one entity among all UN member states who would say now, if he could interrupt my speech, that he’s happy with this war, with his war,” the preisdent said. “But we will not let this entity prevail over us. Even though it is the largest state in the world, Ukraine showed strength on the battlefield, using its right to self defence.”

The speech was followed by a lengthy standing ovation from the delegates in New York.

Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky gets standing ovation after UN speech

Wednesday 21 September 2022 23:36 , Josh Marcus

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky received a standing ovation from United Nations diplomats after giving a virtual speech in which he outlined a five-point “formula for peace.”

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska could be seen smiling as delegates to the United Nations General Assembly warmly applaud her husband following his address on Wednesday evening.

In his address to the 77th session of the UNGA, Mr Zelensky spoke out against Russia’s unprovoked invasion of his country, which is now into its seventh month.

Graeme Massie is following the story.

Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky gets standing ovation after UN speech

Speech from Zelensky highlights Russian war crimes in Ukraine

Thursday 22 September 2022 00:00 , Josh Marcus

During his speech before the United Nations on Wednesday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky highlighted Russia atrocities in Ukraine

The Ukrainian leader talked about seeing citizens castrated on the battlefield, corpses left out in the street, and bodies piled into mass graves.

“Ask, please, the representative of Russia, why the Russian military are so obsessed with castration,” Mr Zelensky said. “What was done to them so that they want to do this to others?”

Here’s some of the Independent’s reporting on Russian war crimes.

How are war crimes defined, investigated and punished?

Satellite images show tanks near Izyum mass graves month before bodies found

Mass graves and bodies ‘left to rot in bags like rubbish’: The horrors of Bucha

What would a special tribunal on the Russian invasion of Ukraine look like?

Thursday 22 September 2022 00:53 , Josh Marcus

During his speech at the UN on Wednesday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called for the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Zelensky calls for ‘punishment’ of Russia to end war in Ukraine

What would that look like?

The demand has some precedent. After World War II, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg charged 24 German leaders for violations of international law.

There is no international criminal court that has jurisdiction over crimes of aggression in Ukraine, as Just Security notes. The country, along with Russia, is not a party to the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court. However, it did submit to the court’s jurisdiction in 2014.

However, due to the nature of the Rome Statute, prosecuting crimes of aggression isn’t allowed against non-member states.

As such, a new special tribunal would need to be created to fully hold Russia accountable, a process that would be substantially aided by the UN General Assembly, which can authorise the UN Secretary General to work with Ukraine to voluntarily establish such a body via international agreement.

VIDEO: Massive protests in Russia against calls for more troops

Thursday 22 September 2022 01:33 , Josh Marcus

Numerous Russians were out in the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg on Wednesday in a rare display of public protest, after the Russian government announced it would be seeking seeking as many as 300,000 reservists to join the war in Ukraine.

In recent days, Russia’s military gains in the country have fallen back into Ukrainian hands.

Here’s our report on the protests.

Hundreds arrested as Russians take to the streets to protest against Putin

Signing off

Thursday 22 September 2022 01:51 , Josh Marcus

That’s all for our rolling coverage today of the United Nations General Assembly.

Thank you for reading, and do stay tuned with The Independent for all the latest news and analysis.