Biden: Russia’s Atrocities in…

Biden: Russia’s Atrocities in Ukraine Make Blood Run Cold;

Zelenskyy: Ukraine Demands Punishment for Russian Crimes

Finally, in the aftermath of seven months of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, thousands of killed and raped civilians, indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people going about their daily chores, killing and rape of children, bombardment of homes the world has heard the message that Russia is a criminal state, a terrorist – and taken it to heart

With September the annual ritual of speeches by United Nations member-states begins in the hall of the General Assembly on the eastside of Manhattan. After hearing blistering denunciations of Russia and its führer Putin by President Joe Biden and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other national leaders, the United Nations top human rights body itself admitted that there is evidence of war crimes in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion nearly seven months ago. It seems the officials have believed the photos and stories that have been circulating the world since Bucha last spring.

Additionally, the Associated Press reported this week that after global hesitancy the tide of international opinion appears to be decisively shifting against Russia, as the number of non-aligned countries, even small southern hemisphere ones, are joining the United States and its allies in condemning Moscow’s war in Ukraine and its threats to the principles of the international rules-based order. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week as the 77th General Assembly got under way, much of the international community spoke out against the conflict in a rare display of unity at the often fractured United Nations.

The panic-laden national conscription of 300,000 Russians ordered by Putin as well as Ukraine’s military victories against Russia are contributing to political problems at home for him, reported CNN.

Biden at the United Nations

President Biden, in his address, strongly denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as having “shamelessly violated” United Nations principles during a speech on Wednesday hours after Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons against Europe and Ukraine.

“Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the UN charter — no more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbors by force,” Biden told the UN General Assembly. “If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for.”

In a roughly 30-minute speech, he said that the war in Ukraine was about “extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state … and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people,” calling out Putin for making “irresponsible nuclear threats.”

“Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should make your blood run cold,” Biden continued.
Ridiculing a recent speech by Putin about Ukraine’s history, Biden said “Putin’s own words make his true purpose unmistakable. Just before he invaded, Putin asserted — and I quote — Ukraine was ‘created by Russia’ and never had, quote, ‘real statehood.’”

Pointing out the global effort to help Ukraine, Biden said Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine are “why 141 nations in the General Assembly came together to unequivocally condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine.  The United States has marshaled massive levels of security assistance and humanitarian aid and direct economic support for Ukraine — more than $25 billion to date. 
“Our allies and partners around the world have stepped up as well.  And today, more than 40 countries represented in here have contributed billions of their own money and equipment to help Ukraine defend itself.”

Despite the massive military assistance to Ukraine that has had a positive impact on Ukraine’s ability to push back Russian invaders, Biden highlighted the true bravery on the front lines: “Every victory won on the battlefield belongs to the courageous Ukrainian soldiers.  But this past year, the world was tested as well, and we did not hesitate. 
“We chose liberty.  We chose sovereignty.  We chose principles to which every party to the United Nations Charter is beholding.  We stood with Ukraine.

“So, we — each of us in this body who is determined to uphold the principles and beliefs we pledge to defend as members of the United Nations — must be clear, firm, and unwavering in our resolve. 
“Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation.  We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine.  We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression.  Period.”

Ukraine’s President at the UNGA

Embattled but undaunted Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has earned the highly touted attribute of not being a national leader who has turned tail and ran, in his inimitable no-holds-barred manner of talking declared that a crime has been committed against Ukraine and his country demands punishment for the perpetrator.

Zelenskyy stated dramatically in an unusual televised presentation: “The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people. The crime was committed against the dignity of our women and men. 

“The crime was committed against the values that make you and me a community of the united nations.

“And Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory. Punishment for the murders of thousands of people. Punishment for tortures and humiliations of women and men. 

“Punishment for the catastrophic turbulence that Russia provoked with its illegal war and not only for us, Ukrainians, but for the whole world.”

Due to the war in Ukraine, Zelenskyy did not travel to New York to address the other 193 countries so this approach had to be subjected to a vote. Seven countries opposed this form and Zelenskyy took them to task for their snub.

“It was a vote not only about the format. It was the vote about principles. Only seven countries voted against: Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Russia and Syria,” the president of Ukraine said.

“Seven. Seven who are afraid of the video address. Seven who respond to principles with a red button. Only seven. One hundred and one, and seven.”

To refresh the delegates’ memories, Zelenskyy reminded that Ukraine did not provoke this war as Putin has been claiming. “We held 88 rounds of talks in various formats to prevent this war, just from the beginning of my presidency until February 24 this year,” he said.

Adhering to international principles, he continued by noting that “Ukraine showed strength on the battlefield, using its right to self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. And no one will reproach us now or in the future with weakness or inability to fight for ourselves, for our independence.”

But punishment was rightly on Zelenskyy’s mind.

“And this is the first item of our peace formula. Comprehensive item. Punishment. 

“Punishment for the crime of aggression. Punishment for violation of borders and territorial integrity. Punishment that must be in place until the internationally recognized border is restored. Until the aggression stops. And until the damages and losses for the war are fully compensated,” he said.

Sanctions against Russia, a strict full package of personal restrictions, are a given.

Zelenskyy also insisted on depriving Russia of delegation rights, removal of the right of veto, if it is a member of the UN Security Council.

Sanctions should not only be applied to officials but also to citizens of the aggressor state who should not be allowed to travel to foreign countries. Depriving them of visas should compel them to fight against the aggression of their own state. Zelenskyy added that they should be punished for abetting the evil of their country.

“A special tribunal should be created to punish Russia for the crime of aggression against our state. This will become signal to all ‘would-be’ aggressors, that they must value peace or be brought to responsibility by the world,” he said. “Ukraine will appeal to the UN General Assembly to support an international compensation mechanism.”

Zelenskyy demanded that Russia should be forced to pay for this war with its assets, which also constitutes punishment, adding “this is one of the most terrible punishments for Russian officials, who value money above everything else.”

The Ukrainian president also insisted that the global body do a better job of protecting human life.

Noting the recent exhumations in Izyum, Zelenskyy said: “The bodies of women and men, children and adults, civilians and soldiers were found there. 445 graves. 

“There is a family that died under the rubble of a house after a Russian airstrike – father, mother, 6- and 8-year-old girls, grandparents. There is a man who was strangled with a rope. There is a woman with broken ribs and wounds on her body. There is a man who was castrated before the murder, and this is not the first case.

“Ask, please, the representatives of Russia why the Russian military are so obsessed with castration. What was done to them so that they want to do this to others?”

Repeating that for Ukraine the war a war for life. “That is why we need defense support – weapons, military equipment and shells. Offensive weapons, a long-range one is enough to liberate our land, and defensive systems, above all, air defense. And we need financial support – to keep internal stability and fulfill social obligations to our people,” he said.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has also taught the world that the third item of his peace formula is restoring security and territorial integrity. “Look at how many elements of global security Russia has undermined with its war – maritime safety, food safety, radiation safety, energy safety and safety from weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

Regarding radiation safety he said, “Russian radiation blackmailing is something that should concern each and every one of you, because none of you will find a vaccine against radiation sickness.”

Summarizing the points of his peace formula, Zelenskyy reiterated:

• punishment for aggression; 

• protection of life; 

• restoration of security and territorial integrity; 

• security guarantees; 

• and determination to defend oneself.

“This is the formula of crime and punishment, which is already well known to Russia. And this is the formula of justice and law and order that Russia has yet to learn. As well as any other potential aggressors.

“What is not in our formula? Neutrality.”

He said that global neutrality in the face of aggression will not save mankind from the ravages of a war that Ukraine is facing.

UK at UNGA

British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Wednesday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of making “saber-rattling threats” to cover his failed invasion of Ukraine, as she told the United Nations that its founding principles were fracturing because of aggression by authoritarian states.

Responding to a statement from Putin that he was mobilizing reservists and would use everything at his disposal to protect Russia — an apparent reference to his nuclear arsenal — Truss accused the Russian leader of “desperately trying to justify his catastrophic failures.”

“He is doubling down by sending even more reservists to a terrible fate,” the speech said. “He is desperately trying to claim the mantle of democracy for a regime without human rights or freedoms. And he is making yet more bogus claims and saber-rattling threats.”

“This will not work. The international alliance is strong – Ukraine is strong,” said Truss, who addressed the U.N. on the same day Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the global gathering by video.

Unity against Leader of Evil Empire

Returning to the earlier point about the growing coalition against Russia, Secretary of State Antony Bliken observed, “We hear a lot about the divisions among countries at the United Nations. But recently, what’s striking is the remarkable unity among member states when it comes to Russia’s war on Ukraine. Leaders from countries developing and developed, big and small, North and South have spoken in the General Assembly about the consequences of the war and the need to end it.

“Even a number of nations that maintain close ties with Moscow have said publicly that they have serious questions and concerns about President Putin’s ongoing invasion.”

Regarding war crimes, the experts from the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, mandated by Human Rights Council earlier this year, have so far focused on four regions – Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy. In their most extensive findings so far, they cited testimonies by former detainees of beatings, electric shocks and forced nudity in Russian detention facilities, and expressed grave concerns about executions the team was working to document in the four regions.

“Based on the evidence gathered by the commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,” Erik Mose, the commission’s chairman, told the Human Rights Council.

“We were struck by the large number of executions in the areas that we visited. The commission is currently investigating such deaths in 16 towns and settlements,” Mose said. He didn’t specify who or which side in the war allegedly committed the killings.

Commission investigators visited 27 towns and settlements, as well as graves and detention and torture centers; interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses; and met with advocacy groups and government officials, Mose said.

He said an unspecified number of Russian soldiers were found to have committed crimes of sexual or gender-based violence – with victims ranging in age from 4 to 82 years old.

Evidently, in the wake of these revelations and accusations, Russia will now supersede Nazi Germany as the greatest war criminal in the history of mankind.

As I’ve said in the past, the words of support as strong as they are present but Russia is also present. Its brutal, inhuman war against Ukraine is present. Ukrainians are being killed. The longer the words of support are being bandied about, the longer Ukrainians will suffer, the longer their children will be raped and killed.

When will the international community of free nations unitedly and forcibly move against Putin and defeat Russia?