Indiana Daily Student

Ukrainian president exposes war crimes, expresses frustration with UN Security Council

<p>Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen   on March 4, 2020, during an extraordinary session of Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine. Zelensky asked the UN Security Council to either expel Russia or disband.</p>

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen on March 4, 2020, during an extraordinary session of Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine. Zelensky asked the UN Security Council to either expel Russia or disband.

Editor’s Note: This story includes mention of violence and sexual violence. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to the United Nations Security Council for the first time Tuesday, one day after he visited the Ukrainian city of Bucha following the retreat of Russian forces. 

Zelenskyy addressed the council via a live video speech, in which he offered gruesome details of atrocities committed against civilians and criticized the UN Security Council for inaction, according to the Associated Press.

Zelenskyy called Russian troops war criminals who murdered, tortured and raped Ukrainian civialians. After seeing the brutal aftermath in Bucha, Zelenskyy said he can only imagine the atrocities that have occured and continue to occur around the nation.

“There is not a single crime that they would not commit,” Zelenskyy said about Russian troops. 

Much of Zelenskyy’s speech blatantly criticized the UN, calling the Security Council useless if they fail to hold perpetrators of war crimes accountable. 

“Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee?” Zelenskyy said. “It’s not there.” 

Zelenskyy advocated for the creation of a tribunal to prosecute Russians responsible for the war crimes, referring to the Nuremburg court that tried Nazi war criminals, according to the New York Times.

However, it is difficult for the Security Council to take action against Russia because Russia is one of five permanent members of the Security Council, meaning Russia possesses veto power. Russia vetoed a resolution in February condemning their invasion of Ukraine and demanding the immediate removal of troops. 

Zelensky said he was frustrated with the Security Council’s inaction and Russia’s veto power, and even suggested disbanding the Security Council. 

“If there is no alternative and no option, then the next option would be dissolve yourself altogether,” Zelenskyy said.

Despite Zelenskyy’s impassioned speech, the stances of Security Council members remained unchanged after the meeting Tuesday. According to the New York Times, Britain and the United States continue to condemn Russian actions as war crimes, while China and the United Arab Emirates refuse to criticize Russia until investigators establish all the facts. Both China and the United Arab Emirates abstained from voting against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the past. Russia maintains it did nothing wrong. 

“Humanitarian issues should not be politicized,” Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun said. “International aid agencies should maintain neutrality and impartiality.”

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