Barely audible Zelensky dodges Russian response at UN
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky hastily left a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday before Russia's representative responded to his claims.
Appearing by video link, Zelensky had argued that that the freedom of the world depended on Ukraine’s independence and accused Russia of threatening a nuclear disaster at the Zaporozhye power plant and being responsible for inflation, hunger and high energy prices.
His speech was barely audible and he closed his connection before Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called out his government and its Western backers for being the principal threat to Ukraine’s independence.
An exception was made to the usual in-person-only rules to facilitate Zelensky's remote participation. Russia had objected to this breach of protocol.
It was the second time the Security Council has voted to override its own rules and allow Zelensky to deliver a video address; it was also done in June, also over Russian objections.
Nebenzia noted the technical problems that made about a quarter of Zelensky’s speech impossible to understand. The Russian envoy also chided the Security Council for turning Wednesday’s sessions into a series of declarations by Western powers of their unconditional support for the government in Kiev, and disagreed with their argument that Russia threatens Ukraine’s independence.
The main, the only threat to the independence of Ukraine is the current government in Kiev.
Ukraine’s woes began with the illegal 2014 Maidan coup, he argued, with Western governments ever since turning a blind eye to actions by Kiev that they would never tolerate at home.
Kiev’s militants burned dissenters alive in Odessa and bombed the people of Donetsk and Lugansk in a “senseless crusade against itself,” Nebenzia argued, which resulted in the loss of Crimea and the independence of the Donbass republics. A war that lasted almost eight years could have ended at any point had Ukraine carried out its obligations under the Minsk agreements, the Russian envoy pointed out, but neither Kiev nor its Western backers were inclined to do so.
Ukrainian troops continue to shell the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and civilian infrastructure, not just in the Donbass republics but in territories until recently under their control.
“Our former Western partners, instead of condemning their Ukrainian wards, continue to send them new weapons, letting Kiev reach places it was not able to target before. This makes them accomplices to crimes against civilians,” Nebenzia told the UN.
He also noted that, according to Ukrainians themselves, American advisers are involved in selecting targets for US-supplied weapons such as HIMARS rocket launchers, which were used to kill Ukrainian prisoners held in Yelenovka.
“We know Zelensky is well aware that the Ukrainian forces are behind this crime, even though he falsely accused Russia of it today,” Nebenzia said.
The Russian ambassador also called out Ukraine’s bombing of civilian areas, use of its own civilians as human shields, deploying banned landmines against civilians – he even held up a ‘petal’ mine as evidence – and an “unprecedented campaign of lies” against Russia,
“not seen since the Nazi propaganda of [Joseph] Goebbels.”
Nebenzia also pointed out that the current US President Joe Biden had blackmailed Ukraine into firing a top prosecutor, and how the State Department’s Victoria Nuland discussed the composition of the government in Kiev with the US ambassador – not Ukrainians – in the infamous intercepted phone call. Just about all Ukrainian government agencies now have embedded Western advisers, he added.
“If this is independence, what does dependence look like?” he asked the Security Council.