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Zelensky calls for Russia to face 'just punishment' in message to U.N. General Assembly

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for Russia to face "just punishment" for its invasion of Ukraine, in a recorded message before the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday. File Photo by Ukrainian President Press Office/ UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a940b1c7201db438998b85844887f596/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for Russia to face "just punishment" for its invasion of Ukraine, in a recorded message before the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday. File Photo by Ukrainian President Press Office/ UPI | License Photo

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for sweeping punishments against Russia following its invasion of the country in an address before the United Nations Wednesday.

In a pre-recorded statement played in front of the U.N. General Assembly, Zelensky said that Russia had committed a crime against Ukraine's people and their dignity as well as every nation represented in the gathering in New York City and must face "just punishment" for carrying out the invasion.

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"Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory. Punishment for the murders of thousands of people. Punishment for tortures and humiliations of women and men. Punishment for the catastrophic turbulence that Russia provoked with its illegal war and not only for us Ukrainians but for the whole world," he said.

Zelensky presented a five-part "peace formula" to settle the war with Ukraine, beginning with further sanctions against Russia as well as the creation of a tribunal to punish Moscow and stripping the nation of its veto power.

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"Russia should pay for this war with its assets," Zelensky said.

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He also pleaded with the members of the General Assembly to provide Ukraine with additional weapons and financial aid as he detailed mass burial sites found in the cities of Izium and Buchan which had been occupied by Russian forces.

"Russia wants to spend the winter on the occupied territory of Ukraine and prepare for new offensive: new Buchans, new Iziums," he said. "Or at least it wants to prepare fortifications on occupied land and carry out military mobilization at home."

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Zelensky alluded to Russian President Vladimir Putin, without mentioning him by name, as he suggested Putin carried out the invasion of Ukraine for his own selfish interests.

"There is only one entity among all U.N. member states, who would say now if he could interrupt my speech that he is happy with this war, with his war," he said.

Before ending his address Zelensky highlighted nations including Belarus, Cuba, Syria and Nicaragua who voted in opposition of his request to deliver the remote address.

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He also took aim at nations that have maintained neutral positions, saying that "those who speak of neutrality mean something else."

"They pretend to protect someone, but in reality, they only protect their vested interests," Zelensky said.

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World leaders gather for U.N. General Assembly

Egils Levits, president of Latvia
Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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