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World Ukraine's leader takes UN to task as 'retired superhero'

03:55  23 september  2021
03:55  23 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy certainly wasn’t the only world leader at this week’ s U.N. General Assembly meeting to paint a dire picture of international relations. But the former actor and comedian may well have painted the most colorful one. In a speech Wednesday, he called out failures in areas from “The U.N. is like a retired superhero who’ s long forgotten how great they once were.” But he went on to enumerate reasons to remember. He pointed to such U.N. endeavors as the milestone 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, food programs, peacekeeping missions and UNICEF, the agency that

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Leaders who are “playing” at unity and stuffing pressing problems into an overflowing bag of woe. A world that's in the same boat, but first-class passengers get the lifeboats. A United Nations that resembles ”a retired superhero" that has lost sight of what it used to be.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy certainly wasn't the only world leader at this week's U.N. General Assembly meeting to paint a dire picture of international relations. But the former actor and comedian may well have painted the most colorful one.

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" Ukraine ' s official representatives as well as those of several Western countries, the US in particular, have essentially expressed solidarity with the opinion of radical nationalists in the Verkhovna Rada ( Ukrainian parliament) and have began distorting the contents of the Minsk agreements," the ministry said. On Saturday, Poroshenko spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on the phone, with the three heads of state stressing that all sides must fulfill the obligations they’ve taken according to Minsk agreements, first of all, those concerning the ceasefire.

Ukraine ' s President said late Tuesday he's concerned about a possible full-scale confrontation with Russia following a maritime clash between the two countries over the weekend.

In a speech Wednesday, he called out failures in areas from sharing coronavirus vaccines to halting climate change to turning back Russia's annexation of part of his country. He floated a proposal for the U.N. to head to global hotspots to hold its meetings — and offered to host one.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP)

“I'm not being ironic. I'm not trolling anyone,” he said. “It's time to wake up.”

A political novice when elected in 2019, the 43-year-old president was addressing global diplomacy's biggest annual gathering for the third time. His first appearance, in 2019, was fraught with a U.S. political firestorm over a phone call between him and then-U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump was eventually impeached over the call, in which he prodded Zelenskyy to investigate now-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

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Ukrainians seeking immunization will instead be forced to wait until Kiev can secure sufficient supplies from a nation its leaders consider more politically palatable. Zelensky has previously expressed frustration with a lack of support from the US in getting hold of jabs. Ukraine has pinned its hopes on the international COVAX initiative, which is doling out vaccines free of charge to economically disadvantaged countries. Around 190 nations such as Afghanistan, Namibia and Ukraine are in line for supplies.

A UN committee will rule on the request but it is unlikely to take place during the current session, which ends on Monday. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received a communication on September 15 from the currently accredited Afghan Ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, with the But one of the officials said the committee 'would take some time to deliberate,' suggesting the Taliban' s envoy would not be able to speak at the General Assembly at this session at least during the high-level leaders ' week. In cases of disputes over seats at the United Nations , the General

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP)

When the 2020 assembly meeting went virtual because of the pandemic, Zelenskyy expressed hope that the gathering would usher in a return "to effective multilateralism and effective international solidarity.”


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A year later, a frustrated Zelenskyy concluded that the pandemic had shown the world had been “playing unity — where one thing is to share objectives and quite another is to share vaccines.”

Professions of unity seem to have a footnote, said the president of a country where about 12% of people are vaccinated: “We are all in one boat, but access to lifeboats is given first to first-class passengers.”

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For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the G20 summit in Australia isn't proving to be a very amicable occasion.

As he has in the past, Zelenskyy exhorted the world to mount a more effective challenge to Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, a move that Moscow portrayed as protecting Russian-speaking people there. Subsequent fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-supported separatists has killed more than 14,000 people, and efforts to negotiate a political settlement have stalled.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP)

“Maybe somewhere in Central Park or Madison Square Garden, those gunshots are not heard as loudly," Zelenskyy said, referring to landmarks near the U.N. headquarters in New York. The powerful U.N. Security Council, where Russia has veto power, has never been able to take action on Ukraine.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at UN headquarters. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP): UN General Assembly Ukraine © Provided by Associated Press UN General Assembly Ukraine

“No one feels secure anymore in this world,” Zelenskyy said, warning against allowing national interests to blow up international relations and leave only “the rule of brute force.”

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Nor, he said, is the world meaningfully tackling problems that cross many national lines: climate change, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, air pollution, lack of access to drinking water, and more. Each time leaders gather for the assembly, “it’s as if we were voting to award some sort of a ‘Global Misfortune of the Year’ prize,” only to be supplanted by another, he said.

“The world simply is throwing all those misfortunes into a big bag, and it’s now already ripping at the seams,” Zelinskyy lamented. “The U.N. is like a retired superhero who’s long forgotten how great they once were.”

But he went on to enumerate reasons to remember. He pointed to such U.N. endeavors as the milestone 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, food programs, peacekeeping missions and UNICEF, the agency that helps children in more than 190 countries and territories.

“That is our most valuable asset,” Zelenskyy said. “And that’s why it will never be banal or outdated to call for unity for their sake.”

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