March 31, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received a standing ovation from UN diplomats after giving a virtual speech in which he outlined a “five-point formula for peace”.

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska was seen smiling as delegates to the United Nations General Assembly warmly applauded her husband’s speech on Wednesday evening.

In his address to UNGA’s 77th session, Mr Zelensky spoke out against Russia’s unprovoked aggression in his country, now in its seventh month.

Mr Zelensky told UNGA that his country was “ready for peace” and added that his plan set out “preconditions for peace” and could work for “all those who may find themselves in the same situation”.

He told diplomats that his plan included “punishment of aggression, protection of life, restoration of security and territorial integrity, security guarantees and determination of self-defense.”

Mr Zelensky, who appeared in his trademark olive green T-shirt, also said in his speech that Ukraine would eventually force all Russian troops from its borders.

“We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it by force of arms,” said the President. “But we need time.”

UNGA last week voted to allow the address to be delivered via a video link due to the ongoing conflict in the country.

Mr Zelensky’s speech came after Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced the “partial mobilization” of 300,000 reservists to fight heavily-depleted Russian forces in Ukraine.

It was the first call-up of its kind in Russia since World War II and met with some level of opposition in the country.

Russia’s independent human rights group OVD-Info says more than 1,000 protesters have been arrested since Mr Putin’s announcement.

US President Joe Biden also highlighted Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in his own speech on Wednesday.

“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you believe in, it will make your blood run cold,” said Mr. Biden.

“If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequence, we risk everything this institution stands for. Everything.”

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