Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appeared at the UN Security Council yesterday and justified arming Kyiv, imposing sanctions on Moscow and support for UN resolutions as actions to defend the founding UN Charter.
Wearing his signature army green, Zelenskiy travelled to New York to attend a meeting of the 15-member Security Council in-person for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The council has met dozens of times since then but has been unable to take any action as Moscow holds a veto.
“Ukraine exercises its right to self-defence,” Zelenskiy said. “Helping Ukraine with weapons in this exercise, by imposing sanctions and exerting comprehensive pressure on the aggressor, as well as voting for relevant resolutions, would mean helping to defend the UN Charter.”
Ukraine and Western countries have successfully isolated Russia diplomatically at the UN, where the 193-member General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted several times to condemn the invasion and demand Moscow withdraw its troops.
Their argument has been simple: Russia has violated the 1945 UN Charter.
In a bid to shore up that support, Zelenskiy also spoke about an issue important to many UN members, particularly developing countries in the Global South – reform of the world body, particularly expansion of the Security Council.
Zelenskiy’s appearance coincided with a pivotal moment for Ukraine’s military campaign to eject Russian forces from Ukraine.
Public enthusiasm for the war effort is waning in many Nato countries, the summer counteroffensive has hit stubborn Russian defences and soon colder, wetter weather will make many rural roads impassable for heavy vehicles.