Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday (September 18) said that the United Nations needs to answer why Russia, which he referred to as “Russian terrorists”, still has a seat at the tables of power in the world body.
Zelenskyy’s remarks came days before potentially crossing paths with Russia’s top diplomat at the United Nations.
“For us, it’s very important that all our words, all our messages, will be heard by our partners. And if in the United Nations still — it’s a pity, but still — there is a place for Russian terrorists, the question is not to me. I think it’s a question to all the members of the United Nations,” Zelenskyy said after visiting wounded Ukrainian military members at a New York hospital.
The Ukrainian President arrived in the US to present his country’s case to the world, including Washington, for continued assistance in its effort to counter Russia’s invasion, which continues over 19 months into what has become a grinding war.
The western allies of Ukraine have provided persistent support to the country including weapons and other assistance. The US Congress is currently weighing President Joe Biden’s request to provide USD 24 billion more in the form of military and humanitarian aid. However, the lawmakers are divided over the provision of additional money to Ukraine.
In the wake of the deliberations, Zelenskyy is slated to meet Biden at the White House this week.
Zelenskyy will address the world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday before meeting with the US President. He will speak at a UN Security Council meeting about Ukraine on Wednesday.
With Russia being a permanent, veto-wielding member of the council, Foreign Minister Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to make remarks.
When asked if he would stay in the room to listen, Zelenskyy said, “I don’t know how it will be, really.”
Zelenskyy, in the past, has taken the UN to task even before the Russian war, as a Security Council member, it is entrusted with maintaining international peace and security.
He, in his address at the General Assembly in 2021, said that the UN was “a retired superhero who’s long forgotten how great they once were.”
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan earlier said that this will be the third meeting between Biden and Zelenskyy.
In a major development, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on September 13 vowed support for Russia’s “just fight” during a summit with President Vladimir Putin that the US warned could lead to a deal to supply ammunition for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
“President Biden will host President Zelensky of Ukraine here at the White House on Thursday. And this will be their third meeting,” Sullivan said at a press briefing last week.
“It certainly comes at a critical time as Russia desperately seeks help from countries like North Korea for its brutal war in Ukraine as Ukrainian forces continue to make progress in the counteroffensive…” he added, referring to the recent visit of Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia.
The NSA said that the US President is looking forward to hearing Zelenskyy’s perspective on this.
“President Biden looks forward to hearing President Zelensky’s perspective on all of this and to reaffirm for the world and for the United States, his commitment to continuing to lead the world in supporting Ukraine as it defends its independence, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity,” Sullivan said, adding that the US keeps on preparing new military packages for Ukraine.
(With AP inputs)