The Ukrainian president demanded before the UN on Wednesday a “just punishment“against Russia, denouncing the invasion of his country and calling for the establishment of a special tribunal. A speech by videoconference during which he also called for Russia to be deprived of its right of veto to the Security Council.
It was one of the most anticipated speeches by the international community: greeted by applause, Volodymyr Zelensky asked, before the UN this Wednesday, “a punishment for the crime of aggression, a punishment for the violation of the borders (…), a punishment which must be applied until the return of the borders” to what they were before the war. He also called for the creation of a “special tribunal to punish Russia for aggression“against Ukraine and to deprive Moscow of its right of veto.
Exchange of 215 Ukrainian prisoners
Shortly after this speech, the Ukrainian government announced the exchange with Russia of 215 military personnel, a record, including defense chiefs from the Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol, a symbol of resistance to the Russian invasion. “We managed to free 215 people“, declared on television the head of the presidential administration of Ukraine Andriï Yermak.
Russia has recovered 55 prisoners, including former MP Viktor Medvedchuk, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, accused of high treason in Ukraine, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his daily address.
As part of this “long-prepared operation“, five military commanders including heads of defense of Azovstal, have been transferred to Turkey, underlined Volodymyr Zelensky. They will remain in this country “in absolute safety and in comfortable conditions“until”At the end of the war“under an agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Ukrainian head of state.
Ten prisoners of war, including five British and two Americans whose transfer from Russia to Saudi Arabia earlier in the day as part of an exchange between Moscow and Ukraine was announced by Saudi diplomacy, are part of this exchange , according to Volodymyr Zelensky.
Putin defends the partial mobilization of the Russian population
For his part, Vladimir Putin defended in Veliky Novgorod his decision to mobilize 300,000 reservists during the ceremony of the 1160th anniversary of the Russian state: “being patriotic is the very essence of the character of the Russian people. Today, within the framework of the special military operation, our heroes, soldiers and volunteer officers demonstrate precisely the highest human qualities, fighting courageously, shoulder to shoulder, like brothers, to save the people of Donbass, for our children and grandchildren, for the good of their native country, which will always be free and independent.“
A risky measure that risks causing an outcry among Russians. On the very evening of the announcement, no less than 1,341 people were arrested during spontaneous demonstrations, according to an NGO. These are the largest protests in Russia since those following the announcement of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine in late February. According to OVD-Info, an organization specializing in counting arrests, the mobilizations took place in at least 38 cities in the country.
Moscow’s actions have come under increasing international criticism. Several countries considered close to Russia, such as Turkey or China, have also condemned the Russian leader’s recent statements and called for an immediate end to the fighting.