Published:  02:43 PM, 19 September 2023

Zelensky takes center-stage at UN summit

Zelensky takes center-stage at UN summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take center-stage Tuesday as world leaders gather for the UN General Assembly, throwing a spotlight on the war that has divided the global body.
   Speaking at the annual gathering on the same day as President Joe Biden, Zelensky is expected to use his speech at the famous rostrum to seek condemnation of Russia for its ongoing invasion, which began in February 2022.
   But he is also set to meet leaders with differing views including Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has previously said that Ukraine shared blame for the war and faulted the billions of dollars in military aid to Kyiv.
   Zelensky, who until recently would travel in utmost secrecy, will on Wednesday also take part in a special session on Ukraine at the Security Council, where Russia is a permanent member wielding a veto over any binding actions.
   Asked about the meeting during a visit to a hospital in New York that has treated Ukrainian soldiers, Zelensky said that the United Nations still provides "a place for Russian terrorists."
   He earlier told CBS News in an interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin -- who is not attending the UN summit -- was a "second Hitler."
   The world must "decide whether we want to stop Putin, or whether we want to start the beginning of a world war," Zelensky said.
   Russia has met overwhelming criticism at the General Assembly over its invasion, but the focus on the war has also drawn criticism from developing countries who believe it has distracted from other urgent priorities.
   Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made a point of devoting the start of the week to development, with nations on Monday pledging to keep trying to meet elusive UN-backed goals of eradicating poverty by 2030.
   Zelensky is also set to meet at the United Nations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- who have both maintained relations with Russia -- as well as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
   Addressing a reception to mark Germany's 50 years in the United Nations, Scholz voiced alarm about the "new rifts opening up in the world."
   "Imperialism is once again showing its ugly face," he said.
   Erdogan, who will also address the General Assembly on Tuesday, has been seeking to restore a UN-backed arrangement terminated by Russia to let Ukraine, a major breadbasket for the developing world, ship grain through the Black Sea.
   Zelensky will later travel to Washington for a White House visit with Biden.

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