‘Evil cannot be trusted’: Zelenskyy urges reticent countries to side with Ukraine
The Ukrainian president warns that Russian aggression will not end in Ukraine.
NEW YORK — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday called on the world’s nations, big and small, to rally behind Kyiv as it defends itself against Russia’s invasion, warning that the conflict “is not only about Ukraine.”
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Zelenskyy focused heavily — if not necessarily by name — on countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia that have tried to remain neutral in the war. He urged them to support a 10-point Ukrainian peace proposal.
He also stressed topics such as food insecurity, nuclear threats and the unfairness of a global system that seems to primarily benefit the great powers. He spoke as an approaching winter threatens to halt a lagging Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russia.
“Each decade, Russia starts a new war,” Zelenskyy said. “Many seats in the General Assembly hall may become empty if Russia succeeds with its treachery and aggression.”
Zelenskyy’s efforts are likely to play well rhetorically among many of the officials gathered before him at the U.N.’s annual gathering of world leaders in New York. Many fellow world leaders are, after all, using their time at the podium to also denounce the world powers’ dominance.
But Zelenskyy’s appeals are less likely to lead to developing countries taking action to isolate or even sideline Moscow in a meaningful way.
Too many countries have critical economic and security relationships with the Kremlin to simply walk away, even if they sign on to symbolic measures denouncing the war and repeatedly call for a peace agreement.
The fact that China is backing Russia, at least diplomatically, in the war also makes these other countries think twice about abandoning Moscow or enforcing Western sanctions on it.
That means Russia may not feel enough of a financial squeeze to leave Ukraine anytime soon.
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