Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky said in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, September 19, that Russia’s war against Ukraine poses a threat to global security as the Kremlin weaponizes energy and food against nations across the world.
Zelensky said that blocking Ukraine’s grain exports and attacking Ukrainian ports is a plot by Russia to escalate global food shortages and blackmail the world into recognizing its conquest of Ukraine’s territory.
“It is a clear Russia’s attempt to weaponize the food shortage on the global market in exchange for recognition for some if not all captured territories,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky turned his criticism also toward Kyiv’s partners who continue to block Ukraine’s grain imports despite the already dire situation caused by the Russian blockade.
“It is alarming to see how some of our friends in Europe play with our solidarity in a political theater,” he said, adding that these nations are inadvertently “helping to set the stage for” Moscow.
Though Zelensky did not name any countries, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary announced they would keep their restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports despite the EU’s decision not to prolong the ban.
“Just as the Kremlin weaponizes global food supplies, it does so with energy, including oil, gas, and nuclear power,” Zelensky continued.
Russia is spreading its “unreliable nuclear power plant” technology abroad and uses other countries’ nuclear plants as “dirty bombs,” Zelensky added, referring to Russia’s terrorism threats against Ukraine’s occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
Zelensky called for the nuclear disarmament of Russia due to its aggressive behavior, commenting that “terrorists have no right to hold nuclear weapons.”
The president reminded the gathered leaders of the world that Ukraine itself gave up its nuclear arsenal upon agreement with the world’s powers in the 1990s.
Ukraine’s head of state called for unity among the world’s nations in countering Russian aggression.
According to Zelensky, more than 120 nations and organizations supported Kyiv’s peace formula, which he said could serve as a template for future conflict resolution and ensure that the wars are solved on the terms of the defending party.
Zelensky added that he is also aware of attempts at closing “shady” deals with Russia “behind the scenes,” warning U.N. leaders against trusting the Kremlin.
“Evil cannot be trusted. Ask (Yevgeny) Prigozhin if one can bet on (Vladimir) Putin’s promises,” referring to the Wagner Group’s owner who died under mysterious circumstances in a plane crash only months after making a deal with Putin to end his armed rebellion.