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Zelenskyy Expected To Visit UN On 1st Anniversary Of War On Feb 23

If he finalizes the visit, Zelesnkyy would be in the UN for the second time since Russia's President Vladimir Putin ordered a military intervention in Ukraine.

by News Desk
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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to make a visit to the United Nations to address a high-level 193-member General Assembly [UNGA] as Ukraine marks the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova said in an Associated Press interview, Friday.

Zelesnkyy’s visit will depend on a number of factors, including the military situation on the ground, as well as Ukraine’s intelligence about the wide-ranging spring ground offensive that Russian troops are planning to gain more territorial advances in the eastern Donbas region, to the south, and Capital Kyiv. “Our president would want to come, he has a will or intention to come, but it’s still a question if there will be a security situation that will allow him to come,” Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova noted in the interview.

If he finalises the visit, Zelesnkyy would be in the UN for the second time since Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered a military intervention in Ukraine. In September, the United Nations’ 101members including India voted to allow Zelenskyy to deliver a video address to the UNGA, despite strong opposition from Moscow’s officials.

Zelenskyy was asked to give an address via video due to the “very exceptional circumstance” of the war with neighbouring Russia. Seven members including Russia, Belarus, Nicaragua, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and Eritrea voted against his participation, while nineteen countries abstained in the vote including Moscow’s steadfast ally China.

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In his defiant virtual speech at the UNGA, Zelenskyy had demanded what he described as Ukraine’s “formula” for peace for cessation of hostilities earlier last year. Embattled Ukraine’s leader had demanded accountability from the international community, as he had addressed the gathering in a video: “A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment.”

Ukraine’s head of state also took an indirect swipe at the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, without mentioning his name. “There’s only one entity among all UN member states who would say now if he could interrupt my speech, that he is happy with this war,” he said at the 7th session of the UN General Assembly.

“Russia wants to spend the winter on the occupied territory of Ukraine and prepare for a new offensive: new Buchas, new Iziums,” he went on to add. The UNGA was not attended by Putin, but instead, he sent his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

High-level debate scheduled on Russian war on Feb 23

On Friday, Ukraine’s UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya informed that the General Assembly has scheduled a high-level debate on the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine on Feb. 23, the anniversary of the invasion. It will be followed by a ministerial-level meeting of the UN Security Council on Feb. 24.

At UNGA, Zelesnkyy plans to get one of the two resolutions adopted that his defense ministry is working on. Ukraine’s president will also propose 10-point peace formula, appealing for the complete restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including the withdrawal of Russian forces from the occupied and annexed territories.

He is also expected to request the establishment of a tribunal to hold Moscow accountable for its war crimes. Stressing that Zelenskyy’s UNGA attendance is “not a negotiation,” Dzhaparova said that the details are still being worked out. “It’s about shaping the discourse,” she stated.

“We have to act step by step,” Dzhaparova noted in the interview. “It’s still a question what will be the first. … I believe that this is something that we will know very soon, in the nearest week or two.”

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