'When Hatred Is Weaponized Against One Nation, It Never Stops There'

Zelensky addresses UN General Assembly
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 19, 2023 8:06 PM CDT
Zelensky to United Nations: 'This Is Clearly a Genocide'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 at United Nations headquarters.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that Russia is "weaponizing" everything from food and energy to abducted children in its war against Ukraine—and he warned world leaders that the same could happen to them, the AP reports. "When hatred is weaponized against one nation, it never stops there," he said at the United Nations General Assembly's annual top-level meeting. "The goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into weapons against you—against the international rules-based order."

The war in Ukraine has deepened major global supply disruptions caused by the pandemic, driving a huge spike in food and energy prices, jolting the global economy and increasing hardship in many developing countries. Zelensky pointed to the food and fuel crunches, and he highlighted what Ukraine says were kidnappings of at least tens of thousands of children taken from Ukraine after Moscow's invasion: "What will happen to them?" "Those children in Russia are taught to hate Ukraine, and all ties with their families are broken. And this is clearly a genocide," Zelensky said in remarks that ran 15 minutes—the meeting's often-disregarded time limit.

"We must stand up to this naked aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow," President Biden told the assembly Tuesday in his own speech. Russia gets its chance to address the General Assembly on Saturday. Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky sat in Russia's seat during Zelensky's address. "Did he speak?" Polyansky said with a wry smile when an AP reporter asked about his reaction to the address. "I didn't notice he was speaking. I was on my phone."

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After landing Monday in New York, Zelensky suggested that the UN needs to answer for allowing his country's invader a seat at the tables of power. If there is still "a place for Russian terrorists" in the United Nations, "it's a question to all the members of the United Nations," Zelensky said after visiting wounded Ukrainian service members at Staten Island University Hospital. He awarded medals to military members who had lost limbs. With help from a charity called Kind Deeds, 18 troops have been fitted for prostheses and are undergoing outpatient physical therapy, hospital leaders said. "We all will be waiting for you back home," Zelensky told those he met. "We absolutely need every one of you."

(Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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