20 September 2023

Zelensky denounces Russia as ‘a terrorist state’ at UN Security Council meeting

20 September 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced Russia as “a terrorist state” at the UN Security Council in New York.

Mr Zelensky and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov avoided each other on Wednesday with Mr Zelensky leaving the meeting before Mr Lavrov arrived.

Mr Zelensky called Russia “a terrorist state” while Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia sat facing him.

Mr Zelensky left before Mr Lavrov’s arrival, which came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was accusing Russia of having “shredded” key provisions of the UN Charter.

Mr Lavrov, in turn, reiterated his country’s claims that Kyiv has oppressed Russian speakers in eastern areas, violating the UN charter and getting a pass on it from the US and other western countries.

Before Mr Zelensky’s arrival, Mr Nebenzia objected to a speaking order that put the Ukrainian president before the council’s members, including Russia.

There is a long history of delegates walking out on rival nations’ speeches in the council and other UN bodies, and it is not unusual for speakers to duck in and out of Security Council meetings for reasons as simple as scheduling.

The group’s member countries must have a presence during meetings but can fill their seats with any accredited diplomat.

Ukraine is not a member but was invited to speak. Ahead of the meeting, Mr Zelensky suggested that UN members needed to ask themselves why Russia still has a place on a council intended to maintain international peace and security.

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