Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the UN Security Council for the first time on Tuesday in a meeting that will focus on what appears to be deliberate killings of civilians in Ukraine by Russian troops.
The dead were discovered after Russian forces withdrew from a town on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, and sparked global outrage and vehement denials by the Russian government that it was responsible.
The United Kingdom, which holds the presidency of the Council this month, announced on Monday evening that Zelenskyy would speak at the public meeting already scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
Zelenskyy is due to address the UN’s most powerful body virtually after receiving briefings from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, its political chief Rosemary DiCarlo and UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, who tries to organize an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and met with senior Russian officials are in Moscow on Monday and will visit Ukraine shortly.
Video footage shows civilian bodies on the streets of Bucha, Ukraine.
Videos and photos of streets in the town of Bucha littered with corpses of what appeared to be civilians, some with their hands tied behind their backs, sparked global revulsion, calls for tougher sanctions on Russia and its suspension of the first UN human rights body, the Human Rights Council.
According to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Bucha and other towns in the Kyiv region that were recently recaptured from Russian troops.
Associated Press reporters reported seeing dozens of bodies in various locations around Bucha, northwest of the capital. Among the bodies was a group of nine people in civilian clothes who appeared to have been shot at close range. At least two had their hands tied behind their backs. An overturned bag of groceries lay near one of the dead.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia on Monday accused Ukraine and the West of a “false flag attempt” to blame Russian troops for atrocities in Bucha, which he accuses of have been committed by Ukrainian nationalists. He called the video of bodies lying in the streets a ‘gross fake’ and insisted that during the time Bucha was under Russian control, ‘not a single person in the area suffered any violent action’ .
During a press conference, the Russian ambassador showed brief video footage of the smiling mayor of Bucha on March 31 calling the withdrawal of Russian forces a victory for the Ukrainian army and never mentioning “mass atrocities , corpses, murders, graves or anything like that”. this.” He also showed footage from Ukrainian television on April 2 showing Ukrainian soldiers entering Bucha, with “no dead bodies in the streets.”
He said Russia would present new “factual evidence” to the Security Council on Tuesday.
Nebenzia was asked if he believed that videos of Ukrainian family members talking about the deaths of loved ones killed by Russian troops were also faked. He replied, “This is war. In war, everything happens. You cannot rule out civilians dying. It’s a sad fact of life.
But he again accused Bucha’s videos of being “staged”.
Britain’s UN ambassador Barbara Woodward called Bucha’s footage “harrowing, appalling, probable evidence of war crimes and possibly genocide”, and she said the Security Council must “think about how we deal with this”.
The council remains paralyzed on any action against Ukraine because Russia, as one of its five permanent members, has veto power. But the 193-member General Assembly, where there is no veto, condemned Russia’s invasion and demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of Russian forces and the protection of civilians.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced on Monday that the United States would soon introduce a General Assembly resolution that would suspend Russia from the UN’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council. man from 57 nations, saying there are growing signs that she committed war crimes in Ukraine. The council is based in Geneva but its members are elected by the 193-nation General Assembly.
Thomas-Greenfield told NPR on Monday evening that the United States plans to request a vote “as soon as possible this week, and possibly as early as Thursday.”
Any resolution to suspend Russia’s membership rights would require the support of two-thirds of member countries voting ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Assembly resolutions are not legally binding – unlike Security Council resolutions – but they carry weight as a reflection of world opinion.
Russia had called for an emergency Security Council meeting to discuss Bucha on Monday afternoon, but Woodward told reporters that with Tuesday’s council meeting already scheduled “we see no good reason to have two consecutive meetings on Ukraine”.
Nebenzia was asked if the US-led effort to suspend Russia from the Rights Council and Britain’s refusal to hold an emergency Security Council meeting on Monday at Russia’s request would affect talks between Moscow and kyiv.
“It will not facilitate or encourage or help what is happening between the Russian and Ukrainian peace talks,” Nebenzia said.
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