A Ukrainian official says Zelensky hopes to visit the UN next month

UNITED NATIONS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants to visit the United Nations to address a high-level meeting of the 193-member General Assembly ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of his country on February 24, security permitting. – said a high-ranking representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Emine Japarava warned in an interview with the Associated Press agency on Friday that many factors are necessary for his arrival, referring above all to the military situation on the ground and the warning of Ukrainian intelligence that Russia is planning “very serious offensive in February.”

“Our president would like to come, he has the will or the intention to come,” she said, “but it’s still a question of whether there will be a security situation that will allow him to come.”

The press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said in a Facebook statement on Saturday that a decision has not yet been made on whether such a visit will actually take place. Zelensky “makes visits abroad depending on the situation in Ukraine and other factors,” Oleg Nikolenko said, promising to “properly inform the public” about the president’s plans regarding foreign trips.

If Zelensky does come to the UN, it will be only his second trip outside of Ukraine since the invasion. He made a surprise visit to Washington on Dec. 21 to meet with his most important supporters in the war against Russia — President Joe Biden and members of Congress, whom he thanked for their support and said “against all odds” Ukraine was still standing.

Ambassador of Ukraine to the UN Siarhei Kislytsa said that the General Assembly has already scheduled a high-level debate on the war on February 23, after which a meeting of the Security Council at the ministerial level will take place on February 24.

Japarava said Ukraine would like the assembly to adopt one of two resolutions that Zelensky wants to see passed ahead of the anniversary of the invasion.

She said Ukraine was consulting with its partners on two measures: one that would support the president’s 10-point peace formula, which calls for the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Russian troops, and the other that calls for the creation of a tribunal to prosecute crimes of aggression that would bring Russia into line. to responsibility for her unprovoked invasion.

“It is necessary to act step by step,” Japarava said. “Another question is what will be first. … I think that’s something we’ll find out very soon, in the next week or two.”

In late December, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told AP that the government wants to hold a “peaceful” summit at the UN by the end of February with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as a mediator, but he does not expect Russia to participate. This would make it difficult to foresee mediation or an end to a devastating war.

Kislitsa, Ukraine’s ambassador, said he did not think Russian President Vladimir Putin would allow anyone to attend the summit because it was not in line with his agenda that Russian territorial gains were not up for discussion.

Japarava said the summit is still under discussion and emphasized that “this is not a negotiation.”

Japarava said that the summit will be a platform for discussing important things for Ukraine, in addition to the 10-point peace proposal, which also includes the release of all prisoners, the trial of those responsible for Russian aggression, and security guarantees for Ukraine.

“It’s about shaping the discourse,” she explained.

This does not mean that Ukraine is ready to sign a peace agreement or a ceasefire by adopting a resolution or holding a summit, Japarava said. This means that only after a resolution or a summit is passed, “peace negotiations or peace agreements can begin.”

The former journalist and TV presenter, a Crimean Tatar whose parents left Crimea after Russia seized and annexed the strategic peninsula in 2014, said Ukraine needs political, economic and military support.

Politically, Japarava said, Russia has discredited the UN Charter, which opposes the use of force against another country, and violated international law, and should be isolated by the international community.

She said it is very important to provide financial support to Ukraine, because its economy has suffered much more than Russia’s, and to provide weapons “to fight for peace.”

Japarava said that the Ukrainian armed forces are highly motivated and fighting to protect their land and people, “but the Russian army does not understand what it is fighting for.”

“We’re doing everything we can to win, but at the end of the day, it’s a question of how it’s going to end,” she said.

If Ukraine loses, Japarava said, Putin will not be satisfied, “and I am sure that Russia will attack other countries in the near future.”

“We are talking not only about Ukraine, but about the common goal of avoiding further aggression,” she emphasized. “If the war in Ukraine is not contained, the war will become bigger.”

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