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Ukraine's Zelensky demands 'accountability' for Russia at UN

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 05 April 2022 5:42 PM

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky has demanded "accountability" for Russia at the United Nations Security Council as the Russian military campaign in the former Soviet state continues.

Zelensky said in a virtual address to the 15-member international body on Tuesday that Russia must face "accountability" for "crimes" during the protracted offensive by Russian forces in the occupied cities and regions of Ukraine.

"Geography might be different or various, but cruelty is the same. Crimes are the same and accountability must be inevitable," the Ukrainian leader told the Security Council.

Zelensky demanded full and transparent investigations along with "maximum access for journalists, maximum cooperation with international institutions, involvement of the International Criminal Court — complete and full accountability."

The Ukrainian president also called for the removal of Russia from the UN Security Council, saying, "We need decisions from the Security Council for peace in Ukraine."

Elsewhere in his speech, Zelensky urged the United Nations to act and reform its system, which gives Security Council permanent member Russia a veto, saying everything must be done to ensure the international body worked effectively.

"We are dealing with a state that is turning its veto at the UN Security Council into the right to cause deaths. This undermines the whole architecture of global security. It allows them to go unpunished. So they are destroying everything that they can," the Ukrainian leader said.

Zelensky said the 15-member council should "remove Russia as an aggressor and a source of war so it cannot block decisions about its own aggression, its own war."

"Do you think that the time of international law is gone? If your answer is no, then you need to act immediately. The UN Charter must be restored immediately. The UN system must be reformed immediately so that the veto is not the right to die," he added.

In a televised speech on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an offensive against Ukraine.

'We came to Ukraine not to conquer it, but to bring peace'

Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that Moscow was trying to bring peace to Ukraine's breakaway eastern Donbass region and was not trying to "conquer lands" in Ukraine.

"We came to you, to Ukraine, not to conquer lands, we came to bring the long-awaited peace to the blood-soaked land of Donbass. Not a truce, but a true lasting peace. And for this, we need to root out the cruelty. We need to cut out the malignant Nazi tumor that is consuming Ukraine and would, in time, begin to consume Russia. And we will achieve that goal, I hope, sooner rather than later, because there is no other outcome," Nebenzia said.

The Russian ambassador to the UN said his country's troops were not targeting civilians in Ukraine and dismissed accusations of abuse as lies.

"We are not shooting against the civilian targets in order to save as many civilians as possible. This is precisely why we're not advancing as fast as many expected. We're not acting like Americans and their allies in Iraq and Syria, razing entire cities to the ground. They had no pity for them. But we feel great pity because these are people who are close to us," Nebenzia added.

Addressing the Council, the UN's Secretary-General António Guterres called the war in Ukraine "one of the greatest challenges ever to the international order because of its nature, intensity and consequences."

"The war in Ukraine must stop, now," Guterres said, warning of the global fallout from the conflict, with spiking prices of food, energy and fertilizers affecting up to 1.2 billion people in 74 countries.

US pushes UN to expel Russia from HRC

In an address to the 15-member international body on Tuesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for Russia's expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council over the situation in Ukraine.

"Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose very purpose is to promote respect for human rights. Not only is it the height of hypocrisy, it is dangerous," Thomas-Greenfield said.

"Every day, we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights," she added. "Russia's participation on the Human Rights Council hurts the Council's credibility. It undermines the entire UN. And it is just plain wrong," she added.

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