With forty-one days of fighting in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke today the United Nations regarding the state of his country as well as once more asking for assistance as his military forces and civilians work together to try to hold their country together. Zelenskyy also offered graphic photos of the happenings in various locations in Ukraine. Earlier this week, video showing men having been shot execution style as well as the bodies of the mayor of the town came out of Bucha. Zelenskyy told the U.N. “we (Ukraine) need decisions from the Security Council for peace in Ukraine.”
The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, shared earlier today, “Russia is running a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities.”
Some of the graphic images coming out of Eastern Europe have shown women who have allegedly been sexually assaulted by the Russian troops. Many of them have had their heads shaved in humiliation. Some of the men killed in Bucha had their hands bound behind them before they were shot, while others were attempting to leave the area via bicycles. One image shows a man’s dog, still wearing its leash, lying beside its owner, refusing to leave.
After Zelenskyy addressed the United Nations, the U.S. Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke. She revealed that there are “credible reports” regarding Russian forces kidnapping Ukrainian civilians in an effort to place them in “filtration camps.” She said the individuals affected number in the tens of thousands, and that eventually these people end up in Russia against their will.
Thomas-Greenfield’s comments only added to the accusations of war crimes perpetrated by Russian soldiers since they invaded Ukraine on February 24. Leaders around the world have labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions after the initial invasion into Ukraine as “genocide.” Unfortunately, some military experts are saying the war could go on for years; NATO’s leading official today said that Russian troops may be preparing to hit the southeastern area of Ukraine. Jens Stoltenberg said earlier, “Moscow is not giving up its ambitions in Ukraine.”
The Kremlin, however, denies reports of civilian slaughter in Ukraine.
Vasily Nebenzya, who is Russia’s permanent Representative to the U.N., said after Zelenskyy’s speech on Tuesday: “the reports of alleged atrocities carried out by the Russian military in places like Bucha are blatant criminally-staged events with Ukrainian civilians who were killed by their own radicals.”
Nebenzya and the Kremlin dispute reports of any Russian wrongdoing, and they have done so since the invasion in late February.
Nebenzya repeated the same accusation that Vladimir Putin lobbied at the beginning of the invasion – the leadership in Ukraine is full of Nazis, including President Zelenskyy, who is Jewish.
Nebenzya also said the only reason Russians are in Ukraine is to return peace to the Donbas region.
President Zelenskyy spoke strongly as usual; he called on the Security Council to “either remove Russia as an aggressor and a source of war so it cannot block decisions about its own aggression and its own war. And then do everything that we can do to establish peace.” He also added, “If there is no alternative, the next option would be to dissolve yourself altogether if there is nothing that you can do besides conversation.”
Zelenskyy also said on Tuesday that the people of Bucha had been “massacred,” with Russian troops running over civilians sitting in cars with Russian tanks, violently killed families, and then attempted to burn some of the bodies.” Zelenskyy compared the Russian soldiers to ISIS and “other terrorists.”
Certainly, the Ukrainian leader and its people are all becoming war-weary, but no clear end to the conflict is in sight. Last week, peace talks seemed productive; however, the fighting continues amid negotiations. In addition, American military officials warn that Putin isn’t nearly ready to step back from his objectives in Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion into Ukraine has caused a humanitarian crisis across Eastern Europe with two million Ukrainians fleeing into Poland alone.