Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday that “accountability must be inevitable” for Russia as he accused invading Russian troops of committing “the most terrible war crimes” since World War Two.
Zelenskiy showed a short video of burned, bloodied and mutilated bodies, including children, in Irpin, Dymerka, Mariupol and Bucha, where Ukraine accuses Russian troops of killing hundreds of civilians.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia then told the Security Council that Russian troops are not targeting civilians, dismissing accusations of abuse as lies. He said that while Bucha was under Russian control “not a single civilian suffered from any kind of violence.”
Zelenskiy questioned the value of the 15-member U.N. Security Council, which has been unable to take any action over Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine because Moscow is a veto power, along with fellow permanent council members the United States, France, Britain and China.
“We are dealing with a state that turns its veto at the U.N. Security Council into the right to (cause) death,” Zelenskiy said in a live video address from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, urging reform of the world body. “Russia wants to turn Ukraine into silent slaves.”
Russia says it is carrying out a “special military operation” that aims to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure and “denazify” it, and denies attacking civilians. Ukraine, a parliamentary democracy, and Western countries say Moscow invaded without provocation.
Russia’s partner China, which has abstained on most U.N. votes since the war started, was “deeply disturbed” by the images of civilian deaths in Bucha, China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun said, calling for verification of what happened.
India, which relies heavily on Russia for military hardware and has also abstained on U.N. action, condemned the killings in Bucha and called for an independent investigation. read more
Russia’s Nebenzia said: “We are not shooting against the civilian targets in order to save as many as civilians possible. This is precisely why we’re not advancing as fast as many expected.”