Zelensky urges 'just punishment' of Russia for war

NEW YORK - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded a special United Nations tribunal impose "just punishment" on Russia for its invasion of his country, including financial penalties and stripping Moscow of its veto power in the Security Council.

Mr Zelensky's recorded address to world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday came after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Moscow's first wartime mobilisation since World War II and threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia in what he has cast as a defining East-West clash.

Moscow plans to conscript some 300,000 troops in an apparent escalation of its Ukraine invasion that began in February and has left thousands dead, displaced millions and reduced towns to rubble.

"A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment," Mr Zelensky told the UN body.

"A special tribunal should be created to punish Russia for the crime of aggression against our state... Russia should pay for this war with its assets," he said, urging the UN to "remove the right of veto" from Russia as a Security Council member.

Mr Zelensky laid out what he said were five non-negotiable conditions for peace.

These included punishment for Russian aggression, restoration of Ukraine's security and territorial integrity, and security guarantees.

Many delegates at the UN gave Mr Zelensky a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden and new British Prime Minister Liz Truss pledged to work together to support Ukraine and ensure energy security for allied nations coordinating to maintain pressure on Russia, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Both Ms Truss and Mr Biden agreed that Mr Putin's actions highlight the need for allies to continue their economic and military support to Ukraine, Ms Truss's office said.

Ms Truss said she was eager to work with the United States in making sure that "we are supporting the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom".


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2022, with the headline Zelensky urges 'just punishment' of Russia for war. Subscribe