Zelensky demands Russia gets ‘just punishment’ in UN speech


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Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded Russia face ‘just punishment’ for its invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president urged the United Nations to create a special tribunal to investigate alleged atrocities in the country and strip Moscow of its powerful role on the Security Council.

He told world leaders at the annual UN General Assembly: ‘A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment.

‘The crime was committed against the lives of our people. The crime was committed against the dignity of our women and men.’

His troops have been boosted by a stunning counter-offensive which has seen Kyiv claw back huge swathes of land seized by the Russians.

And Zelensky vowed in his taped address: ‘We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms. But we need time.’

He said the Kremlin intends to spend the winter preparing its forces for a new offensive, adding: ‘Russia wants war. It’s true. But Russia will not be able to stop the course of history.’

The Ukrainian president told the assembled leaders that ‘mankind and the international law are stronger’ than what he called a ‘terrorist state’.

President Zelensky delivers his video address at United Nations Headquarters in New York (Picture: EPA)

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His remarks came after Vladimir Putin ramped up his invasion by mobilising another 300,000 reservists.

The move, seen as a huge gamble following pledges it would never happen, prompted rare anti-war protests across Russia.

Monitoring group OVD-Info said almost 1,400 people in 38 cities were detained on Wednesday.

Independent news outlets said some of those arrested were served summons to report to military enlistment offices on Thursday, the first full day of conscription.

One-way flights out of Russia sold out after Putin’s announcement.

‘Every normal person is (concerned), it’s horrible,’ said one man, identifying himself only as Sergey, as he stepped off a plane in Belgrade after a flight from Moscow.

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Russian police officers detain men during protests against Putin’s mobilisation of reservists (Picture: Reuters)

Putin also announced plans to annex four Ukrainian provinces and threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory, saying: ‘It’s not a bluff.’

Despite the sabre-rattling, the two sides carried out an unexpected prisoner swap on Wednesday, the largest since the war began.

It involved almost 300 people, including more than 100 members of the Azov battalion who led a prolonged defence of Mariupol and the city’s steel plant earlier this year.

Five British nationals were among the 10 foreigners released as part of the agreement.

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