(United Nations) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take the podium at the UN for the first time on Tuesday, facing a fragmented international community shaken by serial crises, in particular the invasion of his country by Russia.
What there is to know
- Three civilians were killed Tuesday in a Russian bombing in the city of Kupiansk;
- Ukraine said its air defense had downed 27 Shahed-type drones launched overnight during a Russian air attack;
- Russia launched a drone attack early Tuesday on Lviv, destroying three warehouses and leaving at least one dead and one injured;
- The Ukrainian counter-offensive is “progressing steadily” and will soon be supported by the arrival on the ground of Abrams heavy tanks;
- Kyiv asked the International Court of Justice on Tuesday to force Moscow to pay it “reparations”;
- A ship carrying wheat has left a Ukrainian port on the Black Sea, despite repeated threats from Moscow to target the boats.
A year ago, he was exceptionally authorized to intervene via a video message.
This time, he will be there in person, for the high-level session of the annual United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and a special meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday, before leaving for Washington where he will be received at the White House on Thursday .
“For us, it is very important that our words, all our messages, are heard by our partners,” he declared Monday while meeting Ukrainian soldiers injured at the front in a New York hospital.
“Ukraine will present a concrete proposal to UN member states on how to strengthen the principle of territorial integrity and improve the UN’s ability to thwart and stop aggression,” he said. on X (formerly Twitter).
Since the Russian invasion, an overwhelming majority of countries have adopted several resolutions at the UN General Assembly supporting Ukraine and its territorial integrity or calling for Russian withdrawal.
But after a year and a half of war and cascading impacts on the world, particularly on food security, certain countries of the South are pleading for a diplomatic solution.
“I am aware that for some leaders, it is important to find a peaceful solution,” noted the President of the European Council Charles Michel. But “for this peace to be lasting, it must respect the principles” of the UN, he tempered.
In this context, the intervention at the podium of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be closely scrutinized. A meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky is then planned for Wednesday in New York, the Brazilian presidency said.
Unlike several Western powers, Brazil has never imposed financial sanctions on Russia nor agreed to supply munitions to Kyiv and the country is trying to position itself, like China and Indonesia, as a mediator.
Moscow, for its part, displayed its confidence in Beijing’s support, emphasizing the “similar” positions of the two capitals vis-à-vis the United States and the Ukrainian conflict, following an exchange between the head of diplomacy Russian Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
As is tradition, the Brazilian will be the first head of state to speak. Will follow in particular American President Joe Biden and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is trying to resuscitate the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea, or even South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Biden’s speech to the UN comes at a moment of transition in the international system,” commented Michael Hanna of the International Crisis Group.
“And many U.N. members are critics of the yawning gap between U.S. promises to help tackle challenges like climate change adaptation, and the limited ways the U.S. is investing in it,” he said. he added. “Biden needs to reassure his audience that the United States is really going to help them deal with their problems, like the mountains of debt.”
As a prelude to the General Assembly on Monday, developing countries reminded the rest of the world of its promises to improve the fate of humanity by 2030, insisting in particular on a reform of the financial architecture international.
A request made repeatedly by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who continues to worry about an increasingly fragmented world.
“Today we see new fissures opening in the world. Imperialism shows its repugnant face,” commented German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Apart from the United States, no other permanent member of the Security Council (France, United Kingdom, China, Russia) will be represented at the highest level during this annual high mass.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi will be at the podium on Tuesday, while his country and the United States have just carried out a rare exchange of prisoners, under an agreement including the transfer to Tehran of 6 billion dollars of frozen funds.