Russia not serious about ending war in Ukraine: Zelensky in address to UNGA

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia is not serious about ending the war in his country, which will soon enter the eighth month.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) through a pre-recorded video on Wednesday, Zelensky, donning his signature green military T-shirt said, “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory. Punishment for the murders of thousands of people. Punishment for tortures and humiliations of women and men,” news agency AFP reported.

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The Ukrainian President called for a special tribunal to hold Russia accountable and also demanded a compensation fund, saying that Moscow “should pay for this war with its own assets.”

Volodymyr Zelensky further said that Russia was afraid of real negotiations and does not want to fulfill any fair international obligations.

His address to the UNGA came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of reservists to bolster his forces in Ukraine.

In a 14-minute nationally televised address, Putin warned the West that he was not bluffing about using everything at his disposal to protect Russia, an apparent reference to the nuclear arsenal.

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A report by the Associated Press on Wednesday said that the total number of reservists to be called up could be as high as 3,00,000.

Protests broke out in several Russian cities denouncing the mobilisation. According to the OVD-Info protest monitoring group, security forces detained 1,311 people in 38 cities.

Apart from widespread protests, Putin’s announcement regarding the mobilization also sent some Russians scrambling to buy plane tickets to flee the country. Tickets for the Moscow-Belgrade flights operated by Air Serbia were quickly sold out for the next several days. The price for flights from Moscow to Istanbul or Dubai increased within minutes before jumping again, reaching as high as 9,200 euros (around 7.22 lakhs).

(With inputs from AFP, AP)