Ukraine’s Zelensky tells UN Security Council Russian invasion ‘criminal’

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12:46am: France 24’s Jessica Le Masurier analyses Zelenksy’s speech to the United Nations

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for reform in the UN, saying the current system in the Security Council isn’t fair or just.

9:53pm: US lawmakers call for Kremlin critic Kara-Murza to be designated as ‘wrongfully detained’

US lawmakers on Wednesday called on the Biden administration to formally designate jailed Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza, a US permanent resident, as « wrongfully detained » in hopes it will help secure his release.

A Moscow court in April jailed 42-year-old Kara-Murza for 25 years, the harshest sentence of its kind since Russia invaded Ukraine. He was convicted of treason and other offences in a trial he said was politically motivated.

US officials have condemned his detention as politically motivated and called for his release, but a formal designation of wrongful detention would mobilise US government resources and involve the presidential envoy for hostage affairs in the case.

9:53pm: Biden looking forward to getting battlefield perspective from Ukraine’s Zelensky

US President Joe Biden is looking forward to meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on Thursday and getting a « battlefield perspective » on Ukraine’s counter-offensive, White House spokesperson John Kirby said.

Kirby told reporters that the White House had encouraged Zelensky to meet with US lawmakers to discuss his ongoing military needs.

He said the possibility of providing Ukraine with ATACMS missiles remained « on the table », but no decision had been made.

9:13pm: Ukraine suspends spokeswoman from US over unapproved comments

The Ukrainian army said Wednesday it had suspended Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s territorial defence forces from the United States, over statements that the hierarchy said were not approved.

« Sarah Ashton-Cirillo has been suspended from the duties of the spokesperson of the (territorial defence forces of Ukraine) while an investigation is underway, » Ukraine’s defence ministry said on social media.

After coming to Ukraine to report on refugees, Ashton-Cirillo ended up fighting for Ukraine and became a spokesperson for the country’s territorial defence forces.

A trans woman, she told AFP in a recent interview that she had learned to « embrace the hate of the Russians » who have mocked her gender identity.

8:10pm: Russian forces kill 4 in east Ukrainian city of Toretsk

Russian forces shelled the city of Toretsk in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, killing four people, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office said.

The office, in a report on the Telegram messaging app, said that two people had died inside the city and two more in the adjacent town of Pivnichne.

The reports could not be independently verified.

7:09pm:Lavrov defends Russia’s veto power at UN as ‘legitimate’

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday defended this country’s use of veto power at the UN Security Council as a « legitimate tool » of international relations.

Addressing the Security Council shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for stripping Russia of its veto power, Lavrov said: « The use of veto is an absolutely legitimate tool laid out in the (UN) Charter. »

7:06pm: Russia is committing ‘crimes against humanity’ daily, saysBlinken to Security Council

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday used a UN Security Council session attended by his Russian counterpart to accuse Moscow of crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

« Russia is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine on a daily basis, » Blinken told a session earlier addressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

5:48pm: Zelensky tells UN Security Council Russian invasion ‘criminal’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday told the UN Security Council that Russia’s invasion of his country was « criminal » and said that Moscow should be stripped of its veto power on the powerful UN body.

« Most of the world recognizes the truth about this war, » Zelensky said as Russia’s UN ambassador sat before him. « It is a criminal and unprovoked aggression by Russia against our nation aimed at seizing Ukraine’s territory and resources. »

5:35pm: Zelensky begins address to the UN Security Council

Zelensky begins a speech during a special session on the war at the powerful Security Council, where Russia is a permanent member wielding veto power against any decisions.

5:28pm: Russia’s war in Ukraine ‘aggravating geopolitical tensions,’ UN chief says

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday that Russia’s war in Ukraine « is aggravating geopolitical tensions and divisions, threatening regional stability, increasing the nuclear threat, and creating deep fissures in our increasingly multipolar world. »

5:23pm: Ukrainian trade representative says compromise possible in trade dispute

Ukraine’s trade representative said on Wednesday he believed compromise was possible in a trade dispute with some of the country’s neighbours and that he expected a « balancing » of the situation by Friday.

« This working week, so Friday, we can expect to reach a certain balancing of the situation, » he said in televised comments. « By Friday I think we can consolidate the positions of all five countries with regard to transferring to the (compromise) mechanism we have proposed. »

4:33pm: Russia says repelled drone and missile attack on Crimea

Russian air defence systems fended off an Ukrainian aerial attack targeting Crimea Wednesday, a regional official said, in Kyiv’s latest assault on the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Moscow.

The territory has been targeted regularly since Russia launched full-scale hostilities in Ukraine last year, including the peninsula’s largest city and key military port Sevastopol.

« Our air defences repelled a missile attack on Sevastopol, » the Russia-installed governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said.

Authorities were clarifying the extent of any damage or whether there were victims, he added, describing the city as « calm » in the wake of the attack.

4:14pm: US plans big Ukraine aid announcement to coincide with Zelensky visit

US President Joe Biden plans to announce a significant military aid package for Ukraine on Thursday to coincide with a visit to Washington by President Volodymyr Zelensky, a US official said on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

4:13pm: Ukraine urges Poland to set aside emotions in trade dispute

Ukraine’s foreign ministry urged Poland to « set aside emotions » in a trade dispute between the two countries after Warsaw summoned Ukraine’s ambassador on Wednesday.

« We urge our Polish friends to put aside their emotions. The Ukrainian side has offered Poland a constructive path to resolve the grain issue, » foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said in a Facebook post.

2:48pm: Poland summons Ukrainian ambassador over Zelensky comments

Poland’s foreign ministry summoned the Ukrainian ambassador over comments made by President Volodymyr Zelensky, state-run news agency PAP reported on Wednesday, citing ‘unoffocial information’.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address to the United Nations General Assembly that Kyiv was « working hard to preserve the land routes for grain exports » and that the « political theatre » around grain imports was only helping Moscow.

12:58pm: Russia’s Putin formally accepts invitation to visit China in October

Russian leader Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he had accepted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s invitation to travel to China in October.

« I was pleased to accept the invitation of the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China to visit China in October, » Putin told Beijing’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting, according to images distributed by Russian state television.

12:30pm: Ukraine’s allies make legal arguments at top UN court in support of Kyiv’s case against Russia

Ukraines international allies filed into the United Nations top court on Wednesday to support Kyivs case against Russia that alleges Moscow twisted the genocide convention to manufacture a pretext for its invasion last year.

An inprecedented 32 states were making brief legal arguments Wednesday to the 16-judge panel at the International Court of Justice, which is holding hearings into Moscows assertions that the World Court does not have jurisdiction and should throw out Ukraine’s case.

Kyiv filed its case two days after Russia invaded Ukraine. It argues that the attack was based on false claims by Russia of acts of genocide in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine insists the court has jurisdiction. Kyiv’s allies supported that stance Wednesday.

The courts panel of international judges will likely take weeks or months to reach a decision on whether the case can proceed. If it does, a final ruling could still be years away.

10:57am:Poland may ban more Ukrainian food products if grain row escalates, says PM

Poland could slap import bans on more Ukrainian food products, the prime minister said on Wednesday, as he warned Kyiv against escalating a row over grain imports.

Poland has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies since Russia invaded the country in 2022, but the countries are now embroiled in a deepening conflict over agricultural imports since Poland, along with Hungary and Slovakia, extended a ban on grain imports from their war-torn neighbour.

« I warn the Ukrainian authorities, because if they escalate this conflict in this way, we will add more products to the ban on import into the territory of the Republic of Poland, » he told Polsat news.

A World Trade Organization spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that Ukraine had taken the first step in a trade dispute by filing a complaint to the global trade body. Kyiv previously said the complaint targeted Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

7:38am:Zelensky to attend UN Security Council session on Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will on Wednesday 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.

The meeting will focus on the principles of the UN Charter, which require every country to respect others’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. It could create the unique spectacle of placing Zelensky and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the same room.

Asked about the meeting during a visit to a hospital in New York that has treated Ukrainian soldiers, Zelensky said on Monday that the United Nations still provides « a place for Russian terrorists ».

For the first time in years, US President Joe Biden will be the only leader from the five powerful veto-wielding nations on the UN Security Council attending in person. Leaders from Russia, China, France and the UK have not made plans to travel to New York.

7:17am: Ukraine says 17 of 24 Russian drones destroyed overnight

Ukraine’s armed forces said Wednesday they had destroyed 17 out of 24 Russian drones launched overnight, while an oil refinery was hit, according to a regional governor.

During the night, Russia « attacked Ukraine with 24 kamikaze drones of the Shahed-136/131 type, 17 of which were destroyed by Ukrainian air defence, » the General Staff said in a daily update.

Information regarding the consequences of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks was still being clarified, it added.

6:52am: Russia hits Ukrainian Kremenchuk oil refinery in drone attack, governor says

Russia hit the Kremenchuk oil refinery in the central Poltava region of Ukraine in an overnight drone attack causing a fire, governor Dmytro Lunin said on Wednesday.

« Tonight the Russians repeatedly attacked Poltava region. Our anti-aircraft defence worked well against enemy anti-aircraft missiles, » he said on Telegram.

« Unfortunately, there is a hit at the oil refinery in Kremenchuk. A fire started. All relevant services are on site. The work of the plant is temporarily suspended. »

Lunin said that there was currently no information about casualties.

5:29am: Russian warship crew carries out firing drills at Baltic Sea, says Russia’s defence ministry

Russia’s Stoikiy corvette of the Baltic Fleet carried out firing drills at mock targets in the Baltic Sea, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday.

The crew of the small warship conducted a series of scheduled exercises, firing at surface and air targets in a « difficult jamming environment » with the use of electronic countermeasures of a possible enemy, the ministry said.

« The sea range of the Baltic Fleet, where the exercise took place, was declared temporarily dangerous for civil shipping and aviation flights, » the ministry said in a statement on the Telegram messaging platform.

It was not clear when the drills took place.

The Baltic Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy is headquartered in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania, both NATO member states, on the Baltic Sea.

4:08am:Ukraine launches drone attacks on Belgorod, Oryol regions, says Russia’s defence ministry

Russia’s air defence systems destroyed Ukraine-launched drones over the Belgorod and Oryol regions late on Monday, the Russian defence ministry said, with local officials saying that there was no destruction or casualties.

The ministry, in posts on the Telegram messaging platform, said that two drones were destroyed over the Oryol region in Russia’s southwest and one over the Belgorod region, which border with Ukraine.

Governors of both of the regions said there was no destruction or casualties. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

3:40am: Ukraine’s first lady urges UN to help bring ‘abducted’ children home

Ukraine’s first lady urged world leaders on Tuesday to help return Ukrainian children forcibly taken to Russia, where she said they are being indoctrinated and deprived of their national identity.

Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Olena Zelenska said that more than 19,000 Ukrainian children have been transferred by force or deported to Russia or occupied territories. So far, only 386 have been brought back.

In Russia, « they were told that their parents don’t need them, that their country doesn’t need them, that nobody is waiting for them », Zelenska said.

« The abducted children were told that they are no longer Ukrainian children, that they are Russian children.

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children. Another warrant was issued for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, on similar charges.

Russia denies the allegations, saying instead it has saved Ukrainian children from the horrors of the war.

Key developments from Tuesday, September 19:

US PresidentJoe Bidenappealed to world leaders to stand with Kyiv in anaddressto the UN General Assembly in New York. Ukrainian PresidentVolodymyr Zelenskyused his address to accuse Russia of carrying out « genocide » by abducting Ukrainian children and invite members of the global body to help Ukraine prepare a Global Peace Summit.

Ukraine said theInternational Court of Justiceshould impose reparations on Russia for its « war of annihilation », arguing that international law itself was at stake. « Russia is not above the law. It must be held accountable, » Ukraine’s lead speaker Anton Korynevych told the court, sitting just a few metres from his Russian opponents in the Peace Palace inThe Hague.

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv was rocked by blasts with local officials saying the Russian air attack caused a major fire at an industrial warehouse.

Read yesterdays liveblog to see how the days events unfolded.

France Mdias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters and AP)
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