Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of “weaponizing” various aspects of its conflict with Ukraine, including food, energy, and even abducted children. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Zelenskyy warned world leaders that they too could become victims of weaponization if they allow the conflict to escalate unchecked.
Zelenskyy highlighted the impact of the war in Ukraine on global supply chains, which has led to major disruptions in food and energy prices. He emphasized that Russia’s actions, such as halting energy supply channels to Europe and withdrawing from a grain shipment deal with Ukraine, have had far-reaching consequences for the international rules-based order.
The Ukrainian president also drew attention to the alleged kidnappings of tens of thousands of Ukrainian children by Russia, stating that these children are taught to hate Ukraine and have their ties with their families severed. Zelenskyy referred to this as a form of genocide.
However, Russian officials have denied any forced transfers of children and claim that some Ukrainian youngsters are in foster care. Russia will have an opportunity to address these accusations when it presents its case to the General Assembly.
Zelenskyy’s speech comes at a crucial time as Ukraine seeks to maintain international support for its ongoing fight. The conflict has not progressed as quickly or successfully as initially hoped, and there are concerns that backing from allies may be waning. Allies have provided significant military aid but worry about dwindling stockpiles and production capabilities.
The United States, in particular, is considering providing additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, with President Joe Biden requesting up to $24 billion. However, there is a partisan divide over funding for the conflict. Zelenskyy is scheduled to meet with Biden to discuss the situation and seek further support.
Ukraine also questions the participation of Russia in international forums, such as the UN, as a permanent member of the Security Council. Zelenskyy called for accountability, stating that if the UN allows “Russian terrorists” to have a seat at the table, it is a question for all members of the organization.
Source: Associated Press