“Russia wants war, that’s true, but Russia will not be able to stop the course of history,” Zelensky said.
The statements were an implicit rebuke of non-Western and developing countries, calling on Ukraine and Russia to immediately engage in a negotiated end to the conflict.
“Russia will be forced to end this war, the war it has started,” Zelensky said. “I rule out that the settlement can take place on a different basis.”
Dozens of non-aligned countries this week maintained a neutral stance on the conflict – a stance Zelensky described as only seeking to “protect their own interests.”
The remarks drew a rare standing ovation from world leaders in the UN General Assembly, who earlier voted to allow Zelensky to address the body by a margin of 101-7 – a privilege denied to other world leaders. The Russian delegation remained seated after Zelensky’s remarks, along with delegations from Namibia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.
Zelensky rebuked the seven countries that voted against his request, saying they were “afraid of a video address.”
As part of his plan, Zelensky said a special court should be formed to punish Russia. He also said the Kremlin should lose the veto power it has a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Zelensky said that the entire international community wants peace, except for Russia.
“Ukraine wants peace, Europe wants peace, the world wants peace, and we have seen who is the only one who wants war,” he said, without mentioning Russian President Vladimir Putin by name. “There is only one entity among all the member states of the United Nations who would now say, if he could interrupt my speech, that he is happy with this war, with his war.”
Zelensky said Ukraine would regain its territory, but that it would take time and require military force. He renewed his calls for nations to send military aid to Ukraine so it can repel Russia’s better-equipped forces.
“We can return the flag of Ukraine to our entire territory. We can do it by force of arms, but we need time,” he said.
The speech came as Putin appeared poised to escalate the conflict, announcing referendums in four occupied regions of Ukraine to join Russia – an apparent precursor to annexation. Putin also announced one partial mobilization order for around 300,000 reservists to join the war.