Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly in person for the first time since Moscow began its full-scale invasion of his country in February 2022.
Wearing his trademark khaki green shirt, he called on member states to come together to confront Russian aggression and stressed the need for a peace that recognizes Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Here is the full text of Zelensky’s September 19 speech.
Zelensky spoke at the United Nations in New York for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022 [Mary Altaffer/AP Photo]
I salute everyone who is committed to joint efforts! And I promise: If we are truly united, we can guarantee a fair peace for all nations. What’s more: unity can prevent wars.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Secretary General! Fellow leader!
This hall was the scene of numerous wars, but did not serve as an active defender against aggression. In many cases, this was where the fear of war, the last war, was loudest – the war after which no one would gather in the General Assembly Hall.
World War III was viewed as a nuclear war. A conflict between states on the path to nuclear power. Other wars seemed less frightening than the threat that the so-called “great powers” would launch their nuclear weapons stockpiles.
So the 20th century taught the world to refrain from using weapons of mass destruction – not to deploy, not to spread, not to threaten, and not to test, but to promote complete nuclear disarmament.
Honestly, this is a good strategy.
But it should not be the only strategy to protect the world from this final war.
Ukraine has given up its third-largest nuclear arsenal. The world decided then that Russia should become the guardian of this power. But history shows that in the 1990s it was Russia that most deserved nuclear disarmament. And Russia deserves it now – terrorists have no right to possess nuclear weapons.
But it’s really not the nuclear weapons that are the scariest now.
While nuclear weapons continue to be stationed, mass destruction is gaining momentum. The attacker uses many other weapons, and these things are used not only against our country, but also against your entire country.
There are many conventions that restrict weapons, but there are no real restrictions on the use of weapons.
First, let me give you an example – food.
Since the beginning of the all-out war, Ukrainian ports in the Black and Azov Seas have been blockaded by Russia. So far, our ports on the Danube remain the target of missiles and drones. And it is a clear attempt by Russia to exploit the food shortage on the world market as a weapon in order to obtain recognition of some, if not all, of the conquered territories.
Russia is using food prices as a weapon. The impacts extend from the Atlantic coast of Africa to Southeast Asia. This is the threat scale.
I would like to thank the leaders who supported our Black Sea Grains Initiative and the Grains from Ukraine program. Together we have ensured that weapons become food again. More than 45 nations have seen the importance of bringing Ukrainian food to market – from Algeria and Spain to Indonesia and China.
Even now that Russia has undermined the Black Sea Grains Initiative, we are working to ensure food stability. And I hope many of you will join in this effort.
We have established a temporary maritime export corridor from our ports. And we are working hard to maintain overland routes for grain exports. And it is alarming to see how some in Europe are playing solidarity in a political theater and making full use of thrillers. They seem to be playing their own role, but in reality they are helping to set the stage for a Moscow actor.
Second, the weaponization of energy.
The world has often seen Russia use energy as a weapon. The Kremlin used oil and gas as a weapon to weaken the leaders of other countries.
Now the threat is even greater.
Russia uses nuclear energy as a weapon. It not only spreads its unreliable technologies for building nuclear power plants, but also turns other countries’ power plants into real dirty bombs.
Look what Russia did to our Zaporizhzhia power plant – shelling it, occupying it, and now blackmailing others with radiation leaks.
Does it make sense to reduce nuclear weapons if Russia uses nuclear power plants as weapons? Scary question.
The global security architecture provides no response or protection against such an insidious radiation threat… And there has been no accountability for radiation extortionists.
The third example is children.
Unfortunately, various terrorist groups kidnap children to put pressure on their families and societies. But never before would mass kidnappings and deportations become part of government policy. Not until now.
We know the names of tens of thousands of children and have evidence of hundreds of thousands more who were abducted and later deported by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Putin for this crime.
We try to bring the children home, but time passes. What will happen to them? These children in Russia are being taught to hate Ukraine and all ties with their families are being severed… This is clearly genocide.
When hatred is used as a weapon against a nation, it never stops.
Every decade Russia starts a new war. Parts of Moldova and Georgia remain occupied. Russia has reduced Syria to rubble. And without Russia, the chemical weapons would never have been used there in Syria. Russia almost swallowed Belarus. It obviously threatens Kazakhstan and the Baltic states… And the goal of the current war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our resources into a weapon against you – against the international rules-based order.
Many seats in the General Assembly chamber could become empty if Russia succeeds in its treachery and aggression.
Ladies and gentlemen!
The attacker scatters death and wreaks havoc, even without nuclear weapons, but the consequences are the same.
We see cities and villages in Ukraine being destroyed by Russian artillery. Totally leveled on the ground! We see the war of drones.
We know the potential impact of an expansion of war into cyberspace. Artificial intelligence could be trained to fight well – before it would learn to help humanity. Thank God people have not yet learned to use the climate as a weapon. Even if humanity fails to meet its climate policy goals, this means that extreme weather events will continue to impact normal life around the world, and an evil state will also weaponize their consequences.
And when people took to the streets of New York and other cities around the world to protest climate change – we all saw them… And when people in Morocco, Libya and other countries died as a result of natural disasters… And when islands and countries disappear under water. .. And when tornadoes and deserts spread to new areas … And when all this happens, an unnatural catastrophe in Moscow decided to unleash a major war and kill tens of thousands of people.
We must act together – to defeat the attacker and focus all our skills and energy on meeting these challenges.
Just as nuclear weapons are restrained, the aggressor and all his tools and methods of war must also be restrained. Any war can now become final, but we need our unity to ensure that aggression does NOT happen again.
And it is not a dialogue between the so-called “great powers” somewhere behind closed doors that can guarantee us all a new era without wars, but the open work of all nations for peace.
Last year I presented the outlines of the Ukrainian peace formula to the UN General Assembly. Later in Indonesia I introduced the full formula. And last year, the Peace Formula became the basis for updating the existing security architecture – now we can bring the UN Charter back to life and guarantee the full power of the rules-based world order.
Tomorrow I will present the details at a special meeting of the UN Security Council.
The main thing is that this is not just about Ukraine. More than 140 states and international organizations have supported the Ukrainian peace formula in whole or in part. The Ukrainian peace formula goes global. His points offer solutions and steps that stop all forms of weaponry that Russia has used against Ukraine and other countries and that could be used by other attackers.
Look – for the first time in modern history, we have a chance to end aggression on the terms of the nation that was attacked. This is a real opportunity for every nation – to ensure that aggression against your state, when it comes, God forbid, does not end because your country is divided and you are forced to submit to military or political pressure, but because of your territory and sovereignty will be fully restored.
We have introduced the format of meetings between national security advisers and diplomatic representatives. Important discussions and consultations on the implementation of the peace formula took place in Hiroshima, Copenhagen and Jeddah. And we are preparing a global peace summit. I invite all of you – everyone who does not tolerate aggression – to prepare the summit together.
I am aware of attempts to conduct shady deals behind the scenes. Evil cannot be trusted – ask Prigozhin [the former head of the mercenary Wagner group] if you rely on Putin’s promises.
Please listen to me.
Let the unity decide everything openly.
As Russia pushes the world towards the final war, Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that no one in the world will dare attack any nation after Russian aggression. The use of weapons must be restricted. War crimes must be punished. People who have been deported must return home. And the occupier must return to his own country.
We have to be united to make it happen.
Слава Україні! [Translation: Glory to Ukraine!]
Source : www.aljazeera.com