Sep 21, 2022 - World

Zelensky calls for special tribunal to punish Russia in UN speech

Delegates listen to a pre-recorded speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 21 in New York City. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said a special tribunal should be created to punish Russia during his recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Russia should face punishment for "the crime of aggression" and for violations of territorial integrity until the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine are restored, he said.

  • Zelensky added that the punishment should continue until the aggression stops and "until the damages and losses for the war are fully compensated."
  • One method of punishment, he said, is depriving Russia of its veto right in the UN Security Council.
  • He also encouraged other countries to put a price cap on Russian oil and gas.

The big picture: The remarks come after Putin ramped up the war by ordering a "partial mobilization" of Russians with military experience and making a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons.

What he's saying: "Russia should pay for this war with its assets," the Ukrainian president said.

  • "This is a war for life. That is why we need defense support weapons, military equipment and shelf offensive weapons," he added in a plea for continued support and financial aid.

Zoom out: President Biden also condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine during his address at the UN on Wednesday, saying it's "about extinguishing Ukraine's right to exist as a state — plain and simple."

  • "Russia has shamefully violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter," Biden said. "Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation. We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine. We will stand in solidarity against Russian aggression."

Our thought bubble via Axios' Dave Lawler: Many world leaders who spoke before Zelensky offered neutral calls for dialogue between the parties. But from Zelensky’s perspective, it’s intolerable that Ukraine and Russia somehow be viewed as equally culpable.

  • He’s pressing the international community to treat Russia not just as one party to a war but as an invader that must be punished for its crimes.
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