Ukraine Live Updates: As Zelensky Deplores U.N. Inaction, West Turns Up Economic Pressure on Russia

Angered at Russia by mounting evidence of atrocities, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivered one of his strongest denunciations of the invasion in a live video address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, calling the Russians war criminals who, he said, had killed families, raped women in front of their children, looted homes and left their country in ruins, “full of mass graves.”

In his speech, a day after touring Bucha, a suburb of kyiv, the capital, where images have emerged of many bodies of civilians who Zelensky said had been killed by retreating Russian troops, the Ukrainian president said the Council of Security was useless if it couldn’t find a way to hold the perpetrators to account.

“There is not a single crime that they would not commit there,” Zelensky said of the departing Russian troops.

“Now the world can see what the Russian military did in Bucha, but the world has yet to see what it has done in other parts of our country,” Zelensky said.

“Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee?” she asked. “It’s not there.”

Much of his speech was filled with frustration with the United Nations for failing to prevent war by failing to enforce the basic principles of the organization’s founding charter.

“Show how we can reform and work for peace,” Mr. Zelensky implored council members. Otherwise, he said to him, “dissolve completely, if there is nothing you can do but talk”.

Zelensky also called for the creation of a tribunal that would prosecute Russians he claimed were responsible for the atrocities, including leaders in Moscow, drawing an analogy to the Nuremberg tribunal that tried Nazi war criminals.

The Kremlin has denied any responsibility for the civilian atrocities in Bucha or elsewhere in Ukraine and has said that the photographs and visual evidence of the execution-style killings in the northern suburbs are fabrications.

An analysis of satellite images by The New York Times refutes Russia’s claims that the killing of civilians in Bucha occurred after its soldiers left the city.

“They killed anyone on purpose,” Zelensky said. “They killed entire families, adults and children, and tried to burn the bodies.”

Some victims in Bucha were “shot and killed in the back of the head,” he said, while “some were shot in the street, others thrown into wells.”

It was Zelensky’s first speech to the Security Council since the invasion more than a month ago, and he showed no sign of wanting to negotiate with Russia. Rather, he portrayed the United Nations as a powerless and obsolete organization that needed to purge Russia of its veto power over the council.

The council later viewed a short video provided by the Ukrainian government showing images of what appeared to be charred, rotting and slaughtered bodies from various Ukrainian cities.

Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador who is chairing the council in April, described the images as heartbreaking. “Speaking in a national capacity, we are shocked by what we have seen and reiterate our solidarity with Ukraine,” she said, a sentiment shared by several other ambassadors.

Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya categorically rejected all of Mr. Zelensky’s accusations, saying that Russian forces could not have committed such acts.

He suggested that the Ukrainian leader had been duped by the United States and its European allies. He also suggested that neo-Nazis controlled the Ukrainian government, invoking a false narrative that Russia used to justify the invasion of the former Soviet republic.

The Nazis, Nebenzya said, “are in command” in Ukraine. “How can it be otherwise when the people running Ukraine are collaborators with the Nazis?”

Addressing Mr. Zelensky, the Russian ambassador said: “He simply prefers not to notice the Ukrainian Nazis, pretending that they are not there. Unfortunately, they are there.”

Mr. Zelensky, who is Jewish, lost many members of his family in the Holocaust.

The Security Council meeting, which was called by Western members to discuss the atrocities uncovered this weekend, did not appear to change any position on the 15-member body, the most powerful in the UN system.

Russia, one of five permanent veto members, has long made it clear that it would block any move that places blame or responsibility for the war on Russia. It has found a supportive ally in China, which has said that Russian grievances are legitimate and that peaceful negotiations are the only solution.

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said Bucha’s images were disturbing, but no accusations should be leveled at either side until an independent investigation establishes the facts. “Humanitarian affairs must not be politicized,” Mr. Zhang said. “International aid agencies must maintain neutrality and impartiality.”

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