on Tuesday 19 September, 2023

Russian abduction of Ukrainian children is ‘genocide’, Zelensky tells UN

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2023. © Mike Segar, Reuters
by : (FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky take centre-stage at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to address world leaders on the war in Ukraine that has divided the global body. Biden has urged world leaders to stand with Kyiv against Russian aggression, while also touching on Washington's tense relationship with China.

Zelensky says Russia seeking to 'weaponise' food, energy and children

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's has accused Russia of “weaponising” everything from food and energy to abducted children in his speech at the UN General Assembly.

Addressing world leaders in New York, Zelensky said Moscow was using a global food shortage triggered by its blockade of Ukrainian grain "in return for recognition of some, if not all, of the Ukrainian territory it has captured".

The Ukrainian leader also accused Russia of carrying out "genocide" by abducting Ukrainian children.

"Those children in Russia are taught to hate Ukraine and all ties with their families are broken. And this is clearly a genocide," Zelensky said.

"The aggressor is weaponising many other things, and those things are used not only against our country but against all of yours as well," he said

Wearing his trademark military fatigues, Zelensky also renewed his call for a summit of like-minded nations.

"We are preparing a Global Peace Summit. I invite all of you – all of you who do not tolerate any aggression – to jointly prepare the summit," he said.

Turkey's Erdogan pledges to step up diplomacy to end Ukraine war

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to increase his diplomatic efforts to seek an end to Russia's war in Ukraine in his UN address.

"We have been endeavoring to keep both our Russian and Ukrainian friends around the table with a thesis that war will have no winners and peace will have no losers," Erdogan said in a speech to the General Assembly.

"We will step up our efforts to end the war through diplomacy and dialogue on the basis of Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity," he added.

The Turkish leader, an ally of Azerbaijan, also spoke about the violence flaring in Nagorno-Karabakh, where Baku's forces launched a military operation against Armenian separatists on Tuesday.

Erdogan said Nagorno-Karabakh was a part of Azerbaijan's sovereign territory and that the imposition of another status for the breakaway region was "unacceptable".

Biden says US does not want China relationship to 'tip into conflict'

The United States is seeking to "responsibly manage" its rivalry with China to avoid any possible war, US President Joe Biden has told the UN General Assembly.

"When it comes to China, I want to be clear and consistent. We seek to responsibly manage the competition between our countries so it does not tip into conflict," Biden said in a speech.

Touching at length on the war in Ukraine, the US president appealed to world leaders to stand with Kyiv against Russian invaders – hoping Republicans in Congress will also take notice.

Brazil's Lula calls for dialogue to achieve peace in Ukraine

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine, saying "no solution will be lasting if it is not based on dialogue".

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Lula said: "I have reiterated that work needs to be done to create space for negotiations."

Brazil's leader has been criticised in the West for failing to openly condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine and suggesting presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky were equally to blame for the war.

UN chief says invasion of Ukraine 'unleashed nexus of horror'

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has kicked off this year's UN General Assembly with a stinging rebuke of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Moscow's invasion marked a violation of the UN Charter that "has unleashed a nexus of horror", Gutierres told the annual gathering of world leaders.

He warned that the world badly needs Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilisers to stabilise markets and guarantee food security, adding – to the applause of leaders – "I will not give up on my efforts to make it happen."
"Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalise Ukraine without consequence," Biden said in his speech to UNGA. "If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?"

Biden has made rallying US allies to support Ukraine a leading component of US foreign policy, arguing that the world must send a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will not be able to outlast the West.