Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stepped up his calls for an overhaul of the international security system as new evidence of alleged crimes by Russian forces in areas recently retaken by Ukrainian forces has surfaced.
The Ukrainian President then intensified his criticism of the world community in a nightly video address insult to the UN for failing to prevent Russia’s invasion of the country in a speech to the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
After more than a month of fighting, Ukrainian forces largely managed to repel the Russian attack in many parts of the country, including around the capital Kyiv.
But the withdrawal of Russian troops has brought to light a trail of destruction and growing evidence of civilian killings and war crimes in Irpin, Bucha and Borodyanka, areas near the capital that were under Russian occupation until last week. Russia has denied the allegations.
The EU and the US are preparing a package of additional sanctions against Moscow following reports of the atrocities. The EU member states will discuss this on Wednesday coal import ban into the bloc, and Washington plans to bar new investment in Russia and tighten restrictions on the country’s financial institutions, state-owned companies and government officials.
European governments, including Italy and Spain, expelled 90 Russian diplomats on Tuesday after Germany, Poland and Slovakia took similar steps in recent days. It was also revealed that the Czech Republic had sent tanks and armored personnel carriers to Ukraine to bolster its defenses, while Russia is refocusing its military offensive on the south and east of the country.
Zelenskyy has called for Russia’s leaders “to be brought to justice” and has slammed the UN Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member and has the right to veto any decision.
“The UN Security Council exists and security in the world does not,” he said in a video address on Tuesday. The president added that the UN “was unable to perform the functions it was created to perform” because Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, could block decisions with the ability to veto any action.
“I hope the world will draw conclusions,” he added. “Otherwise there is only one institution in the world that guarantees the security of states. Namely – guns.”
Zelensky made his comments as more territory was liberated from Russian control and evidence of further atrocities emerged. Smashed tanks and charred armored vehicles witnessed fierce fighting during a visit to Irpin and Bucha, some of Kiev’s recently liberated satellite towns, on Tuesday.
In Irpin and Bucha, residents pointed out the makeshift graves of civilians said to have been killed by Russian forces, while mangled tanks, wrecked vehicles and demolished buildings and bridges revealed the extent of the conflict in recent weeks.
“They bombed locals while they were being evacuated. People here talk about executing civilians. The Russians even drove tanks over the shot corpses. And we had to shovel away the remains of these people,” Oleksandr Markushin, the mayor of Irpin, told the Financial Times.
“A mine went off right in front of me and two children, a mother and a volunteer died instantly,” he said. “The war must end. But it must be stopped on terms favorable to Ukraine. We paid a very high price for this war.”
Authorities said Borodyanka, a town west of Irpin, had been leveled. “Today there are so many war crimes that they go beyond qualification,” said Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor. “These are crimes against humanity systematically committed by Russians. We can calculate Irpin, Bucha, Vorzel, but actually the worst situation in terms of victims is in Borodyanka.”
Zelensky also said his government was preparing to welcome European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and top EU diplomat Josep Borrell to Kyiv “in the near future”.
“The cooperation in Kyiv will be praised by many nations of the world. And not just in Europe,” he said. “Because now Kyiv is the capital of global democracy, the capital of the struggle for freedom for everyone on the European continent.”
https://www.ft.com/content/3d1315d7-b7b1-4ec6-8885-a1aeacf1fe61 Volodymyr Zelenskyy fuels criticism of the international security apparatus