Photo of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky during his usual address to the nation, Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.
Ukrinform | Future Publishing | Getty Images
United Nations – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will make dramatic statements to world leaders Wednesday after hours. Russia moved to mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops for its months-long attack on Ukraine.
Zelensky, who has not left his war-weary nation since invading Russia in February, will speak after a Ukrainian counter-offensive reclaimed swathes of territory lost early in the war. But on the second day of diplomatic choreography in the iconic green and gold of the United Nations General Assembly Hall, Zelensky will be the only president addressing world leaders from screens hanging above the vast hall.
The international forum voted last week to allow Zelensky to provide pre-recorded remarks to the annual meeting of world leaders, except for his requirement that all leaders speak in person. The 193-member world body agreed to Zelensky’s hypothetical remarks by 101 to 7, with 19 abstentions, including China. Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia and Syria were the seven countries that voted against Zelensky’s request.
Zelensky will be the only leader to address the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in nearly the first year, and the annual high-level gathering in New York City has returned in person since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The view of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2019 in New York City.
Kina Betancourt | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Zelensky’s comments come as the Russian war enters its eighth month, and the Kremlin shows no signs of giving up its ambitions to erase Ukrainian sovereignty in order to restore the Soviet empire.
The conflict escalated earlier on Wednesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a referendum on whether to join Russia in four occupied regions of Ukraine. The move is believed to be an attempt by the Kremlin to annex additional swathes of its former Soviet neighbour. Voting could be held as soon as this weekend.
Putin also ordered approximately 300,000 Russian reserve soldiers to join the fight. The partial mobilization, Russia’s first since World War II, follows a string of stunning Ukrainian developments in recent days.
Ukrainian forces, equipped with a large number of Western weapons, made significant gains against the mighty war machine of the Kremlin.
The United States has so far provided Kyiv with a war fund of more than $15 billion. Meanwhile, NATO allies have beefed up security across the region, taking in refugees and training Ukrainian forces.
Zelensky is expected to call for more weapons as his country battles an era-defining battle for democratic principles and world order.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the Kharkiv region for the first time since Russia began attacks on his country on February 24 in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on May 29, 2022 (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Ukrainian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
While nearly every leader who stood behind the famous speaker’s rostrum to address the international forum has condemned Russia for its continued offensive, Zelensky is expected to urge leaders to publicly define their stance on the war.
It will demand that countries such as China, the world’s second largest economy, abandon their neutrality.
The United Nations estimates that the Russian war has so far killed nearly 6,000 civilians and injured more than 8,600. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights adds that the death toll in Ukraine is likely higher.
Meanwhile, the European Commission and the World Bank It is estimated that it will cost at least 349 billion dollars To rebuild post-war Ukraine.
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