UNGA: Zelenskyy demands Russia face ‘punishment’ for invasion of Ukraine

Ukrainian leader received special permission to speak via recorded video message

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In perhaps the most anticipated speech of this year’s UN General Assembly, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demanded that Russia face “punishment” for its invasion of Ukraine.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine,” he told the 193-member General Assembly in a recorded message. “We demand just punishment.”

Wearing what has become his trademark military green T-shirt, Mr Zelenskyy outlined a five-step guide that he said would lead to peace.

The “Ukrainian peace formula”, as Mr Zelenskyy referred to it, consists of punishment, the protection of life, a return of territorial integrity, security guarantees and determination.

The wartime leader called on the assembly to strip Russia of its seat on the Security Council and revoke its membership privileges.

“We shouldn't turn a blind eye to propagandists who justify aggression, but apply a full package of personal restrictions against them,” he said.

Among the punishments he called for was denying Russian citizens the right to “enjoy tourism”.

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Mr Zelenskyy once again renewed his pleas for military and financial assistance as he asked member countries for more weapons.

“Offensive weapons and long-range ones are enough to liberate our land,” he said.

Ukraine has benefited greatly from Nato support throughout the war, with the US alone sending more than $13 billion in military aid, including a host of anti-tank missile systems.

The Ukrainian president's speech comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin called up 300,000 reserve troops in an effort to turn the tide of conflict.

In September alone, Ukrainian forces have retaken more than 6,000 square kilometres of territory from Russia.

About 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the seven-month-long conflict, with thousands more injured.

On Tuesday, Russia’s Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Russia had lost about 6,000 soldiers since the fighting started, though western estimates have put that number significantly higher.

Mr Zelenskyy made clear that Ukraine was prepared to continue fighting until the end but that it preferred peace.

“I rule out that the settlement can happen on a different basis than the Ukrainian peace formula,” he said. “The further the Russian terror reaches, the less likely it is that anyone in the world will agree to sit at a table with them.”

The speech by the Ukrainian leader, who has won plaudits for his ability to galvanise citizens to defend their country, was met with a standing ovation from the delegates in attendance, a rare sign of respect and admiration in the normally tranquil hall.

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Updated: September 21, 2022, 10:56 PM