Zelenskyy’s speech to the UN General Assembly

September 20,2023 1003
Zelenskyy’s speech to the UN General Assembly

Thank you very much!

I welcome all who stand for common efforts! 

And I promise – being really united we can guarantee fair peace for all nations. What’s more, unity can prevent wars.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Mr. Secretary General!

Fellow leaders!

This hall saw many wars but not as an active defender against the aggressions.

In many cases, the fear of war, the final war, was the loudest here – the war after which no one would gather in the General Assembly Hall again.

The Third World War was seen as a nuclear war. A conflict between states on the highway to nukes. Other wars seemed less scary compared to a threat of the so-called “great powers” firing their nuclear stockpiles.

So, the 20th century taught the world to restrain from the use of the weapons of mass destruction – not to deploy, not to proliferate, not to threaten with, and not to test, but to promote a complete nuclear disarmament.

Frankly, this is a good strategy. But it should not be the only strategy to protect the world from this final war.

Ukraine gave up its third largest nuclear arsenal. The world then decided Russia should become a keeper of such power. Yet, history shows it was Russia who deserved nuclear disarmament the most, back in the 1990s. And Russia deserves it now – terrorists have no right to hold nuclear weapons. No right!

But truly not the nukes are the scariest now.

While nukes remain in place, the mass destruction is gaining its momentum. The aggressor is weaponizing many other things and those things are used not only against our country but against all of yours as well.

Fellow leaders!

There are many conventions that restrict weapons but there are no real restrictions on weaponization.

First, let me give you an example – the food.

Since the start of the full-scale war, the Ukrainian ports in the Black and Azov Seas have been blocked by Russia. Until now, our ports on the Danube River remain the target for missiles and drones. And it is a clear Russia’s attempt to weaponize the food shortage on the global market in exchange for recognition for some, if not all, of the captured territories.

Russia is launching the food prices as weapons. The impact spans from the Atlantic coast of Africa to Southeast Asia. This is the threat scale.

I would like to thank those leaders who supported our Black Sea Grain Initiative, and program “Grain from Ukraine”. Thank you so much! United, we made weapons turn back into food again. More than 45 nations saw how important it is to make Ukrainian food products available on the market… from Algeria and Spain to Indonesia and China.

Even now when Russia has undermined the Black Sea Grain Initiative, we are working to ensure food stability. And I hope that many of you will join us in these efforts. We launched a temporary sea export corridor from our ports. And we are working hard to preserve the land routes for grain exports. And it is alarming to see how some in Europe, some of our friends in Europe, play out solidarity in a political theater – making a thriller from the grain. They may seem to play their own role but in fact they are helping set the stage to a Moscow actor.

Second, weaponization of energy.

Many times, the world has witnessed Russia using energy as a weapon. The Kremlin weaponized oil and gas to weaken the leaders of other countries when they came to the Red Square.

Now the threat is even greater. Russia is weaponizing nuclear energy. Not only is it spreading its unreliable nuclear-power-plant-construction-technologies, but it is also turning other countries’ power plants into real dirty bombs.

Look please what Russia did to our Zaporizhzhia power plant – shelled it, occupied it and now blackmails others with radiation leaks.

Is there any sense to reduce nuclear weapons when Russia is weaponizing nuclear power plants? Scary question.

The global security architecture offers no response or protection against such a treacherous radiation threat. And there is no accountability for radiation blackmailers so far.

The third example is children.

Unfortunately, various terrorist groups abduct children to put pressure on their families and societies. But never before would mass kidnapping and deportation become a part of the government policy. Not until now.

We know the names of tens of thousands of children and have evidence on hundreds of thousands of others kidnapped by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine and later deported. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for this crime.

We are trying to get children back home but time goes by. What will happen to them?

Those children in Russia are taught to hate Ukraine, and all ties with their families are broken… This is clearly a genocide.

When hatred is weaponized against one nation, it never stops there. Each decade Russia starts a new war. Parts of Moldova and Georgia remain occupied. Russia turned Syria into ruins. And if it hadn’t been for Russia, the chemical weapons would have never been used there in Syria. Russia has almost swallowed Belarus. It is obviously threatening Kazakhstan and the Baltic states… And the goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into a weapon against you – against the international rules-based order. Many seats in the General Assembly Hall may become empty if Russia succeeds with its treachery and aggression.

Full text of the address: Office of the President of Ukraine