Updated Sep 19, 2023 - World

Zelensky calls Russia's actions in Ukraine "clearly a genocide"

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia's alleged kidnapping of Ukrainian children during his UN General Assembly address Tuesday.

Driving the news: "This is clearly a genocide," Zelensky said, adding that Ukraine has the "names of tens of thousands of children" kidnapped and deported by Russia.

Zoom out: Zelensky acknowledged the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year over the country's alleged kidnapping, but warned that "time goes by."

  • "Those children in Russia are taught to hate Ukraine and all ties with their families are broken. And this is clearly a genocide," he said.
  • A Conflict Observatory report in February warned that Russia had abducted at least 6,000 children from Ukraine since its invasion the year before. Many of the children were taken to camps or other facilities engaged in pro-Russia reeducation efforts, it noted.

State of play: Zelensky highlighted to Russia’s frequent role as an aggressor on the world stage — pointing to its role in Syria as just one example — and warned of the potential global consequences.

  • “The goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into a weapon against you, against the international rules-based order," he said.
  • Zelensky also used his UN address to condemn Russia’s weaponization of food and energy.

This isn't the first time Zelensky has raised the specter of genocide in Ukraine.

  • He has previously said that certain acts of Russian aggression, like the shelling of a children's hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol in March 2022, were proof of genocide.

Editor's note: This story is breaking and will be updated.

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