Zelensky arrived in New York on Monday to address the United Nations General Assembly and plead for more aid as Ukraine painfully pushes ahead with a high-stakes counter-offensive to retake territory from forces of Russia is more than 18 months into the war. He is expected to use his speech on the famous rostrum to demand condemnation of Russia for its ongoing invasion, which began in February 2022. But he is also set to meet with leaders with different views including the President of Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who previously said that Ukraine blamed the war and blamed Kyiv for billions of dollars in military aid. Read our live blog for all the latest developments in the war. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
03:00am: Heading to the UN, Ukraine’s president asks why Russia still has a place there
Days before potentially crossing paths with Russia’s top diplomat at the United Nations, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky suggested Monday that the world body should be held accountable for allowing his country’s aggressor to can sit at the tables of power.
“For us, it is very important that all our words, all our messages, are heard by our partners. And if it is in the United Nations – it is a pity, but still – there is a place for terrorists in Russia, the question is not. I think this is a question for all members of the United Nations,” Zelensky said after visiting wounded members of the Ukrainian military in a New York hospital.
Zelensky is due to address world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and will address a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Wednesday. Russia is a permanent, veto-wielding member of the council, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to make comments.
Asked if he would stay in the room to listen, Zelensky said, “I don’t know what it is, to be honest.”
02:30am: ‘Stay strong’: Zelensky visits wounded Ukrainian soldiers in New York
Before meeting with world leaders, Zelensky went to Staten Island University Hospital, where a group of Ukrainian soldiers received prosthetic arms and legs and rehabilitation services.
In a large hospital room, the Ukrainian president watched as dozens of soldiers in khaki uniforms practiced walking and lifting weights with newly acquired prosthetic legs and arms. .
Zelensky chats with soldiers and shakes hands — if they are present.
Even as he tried to encourage the soldiers, the Ukrainian leader was visibly shaken.
“Is it hard?” Zelensky asked a soldier.
“A little,” was the answer.
02:02am: Iran’s president denies sending drones to Russia and rejects US interference
Iran’s president on Monday denied his country had sent drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine, even as the United States accused Iran of not only supplying the weapons but helping Russia build a plant to manufacture them. .
“We are against the war in Ukraine,” said President Ebrahim Raisi as he met with media executives on the sidelines of the first global conference, the meeting of high-level leaders at the UN General Assembly.
Iran’s leader spoke just hours after five Americans held in Iranian custody arrived in Qatar, freed in a deal that saw President Joe Biden agree to unlock nearly $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds. assets.
Raisi acknowledged that Iran and Russia have long had strong ties, including defense cooperation. But he denied sending arms to Moscow since the war began. “If they have a document that Iran gave weapons or drones to the Russians after the war,” he said, then they should produce it.
Iranian officials have made a series of contradictory comments about the drones.
US and European officials say the number of Iranian drones used in the war in Ukraine shows that the flow of such weapons has not only continued but intensified after the fighting began.
Despite his words about trust, Raisi’s tone toward the United States was not all congenial; he has harsh words at other times.
Raisi said his country is “seeking good relations with all neighboring countries” in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Key developments from Monday, September 18:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in New York on Monday ahead of his speech at the UN General Assembly and a scheduled meeting with US President Joe Biden.
Ukraine plans to sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over their ban on Ukrainian agricultural products, Politico quoted Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka in an interview published Monday.
The human rights situation inside Russia has worsened since Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine last year, a top UN expert said on Monday, denouncing a “systematic crackdown” on civil society. .
Read yesterday’s liveblog to see how the day’s events unfolded.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters and AP)