Volodymyr Zelensky: Ukrainian President calls on UN

A day after moving to Pucha, a Kiev suburb, Zhelensky’s speech came as shocking images of bodies appeared on the streets over the weekend.
On Tuesday, he described in detail the consequences of Russia’s withdrawal from the city, with entire families killed, people beheaded and women raped and killed in front of their children. Zelensky said that Russia’s actions were no different from those of a terrorist group, except that Russia was a permanent member of the UNSC.

The Ukrainian leader then criticized the body, asking delegates the point: “Where is the security that the Security Council should guarantee? It is not there even though the Security Council is.”

Zelensky added: “It is obvious that the world’s leading agency designed to fight aggression and ensure peace cannot function effectively.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to remind you of Article 1, Chapter 1 of the UN Charter. What is the purpose of our organization? Its purpose is to maintain peace and ensure compliance. ? ” He asked.

A UN official told the crowd that at least 1,480 civilians had been killed and at least 2,195 wounded in Ukraine between February 24 and the start of the Russian invasion, citing updated numbers from the Office of the High Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs. Rights (OHCHR). The latest figures on the number of Ukrainian civilians in conflict have “more than doubled” since their last briefing to the UNSC on March 17.

In Pucha, bodies scattered in the streets and basements were found by human rights groups and documented by independent journalists. Satellite images show some bodies have been there since at least March 18.

In his scathing speech, Zhelensky said that the Russians “did not commit any crime” and accused Russian troops of “deliberately killing anyone who served our country.”

“When they tried to call someone, they shot the women outside their house … they killed the whole family, adults and children and they tried to burn the bodies,” Zhelensky said.

“Every day I address you on behalf of the people who remember the dead and the civilians who were shot in the back of their heads after being tortured,” he told the UNSC. .

“Some of them were shot in the streets, others were thrown into wells, so they were tortured there, they were killed in their apartments, houses, grenades were blown up. Civilians sat in the middle of their cars and were crushed by tanks. The road, for their pleasure,” he continued. “The women were raped and killed in front of their children. Their tongues were plucked only because the invader did not ask them what they wanted to hear.”

A session of the Security Council has been convened to consider Ukrainian allegations that civilians were massacred by Russian troops in the city of Pucha.

Zhelensky also warned that the horrors seen in Pucha would be reflected in other cities across Ukraine. He called for accountability of any Russians who issued “criminal orders” and “executed our own people and executed them,” similar to the Nuremberg trials when the Nazis were tried after World War II.

UN: The public was targeted

Separately, the United Nations on Tuesday said that Pucha’s shocking pictures show “all signs” that civilians were “directly targeted and directly killed”.

At a virtual press conference, OHCHR spokeswoman Liz Throssell said reports from Pucca and elsewhere were “very confusing developments.”

He referred to “disturbing” images of people with their hands tied behind their backs and pictures of women with bodies partially burned.

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“We’re talking about war crimes in the context of shelling, bombing and artillery. Now they should be investigated. But you could argue that there was a military environment, for example, a building was attacked. It’s hard to see. The military environment of a person lying on the street with a bullet in the head or their bodies burned.” Throttle continued.

Since OHCHR is currently trying to access Pucha, he does not have “accurate information” to share about the situation on the ground.

Throcell paid tribute to the “important role” journalists play in documenting these scenes, referring to the “many groups” involved in “reporting, analyzing and transmitting video footage.”

Russia’s answer

Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations. Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, responded to Gelensky’s comments by calling the allegations against the Russian military “baseless.”

“We place unsubstantiated allegations against the Russian military on your conscience, which have not been confirmed by any eyewitnesses,” Nebenzia said in a translation.

The ambassador recalled Zelensky’s election to the presidency of Ukraine in 2019, saying that hope that Zelensky would end the fighting in the Donbas region of Ukraine had “failed to materialize”.

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Nebenzia also reiterated past claims that “a large number of lies about Russian soldiers and the military” continue to grow.

Speaking directly to Zhelensky, Nebenzia concluded that Russia “… came to Ukraine” to bring peace, not to “seize land.”

Nebenzia’s words echoed the words of former Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Pesco on Tuesday, calling the allegations “unsubstantiated, but … a well-staged tragedy” and a “fraud that seeks to discredit the Russian military.”

CNN’s Niamh Kennedy, Laura Ly and Anna Chernova contributed to the report.

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