Ukrainian leader accuses UN of ‘retired superheroes’


UNITED NATIONS (PA) – Leaders who “play” at unity and cram urgent problems into an overflowing sack of doom. A world that is in the same boat, but the first class passengers get the lifeboats. A United Nations that looks like “a retired superhero” that has lost sight of what it used to be.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was certainly not the only world leader at this week’s United Nations General Assembly meeting to paint a dire picture of international relations. But the former actor and comedian may have painted the most colorful.

In a speech on Wednesday, he denounced failures in areas ranging from sharing coronavirus vaccines to stopping climate change to rolling back Russia’s annexation of part of his country. He launched a proposal for the UN to travel to global hot spots to hold its meetings – and offered to host one.

“I am not ironic. I’m not trolling anyone, ”he said. “It’s time to wake up.”

New to politics when he was elected in 2019, the 43-year-old president was addressing the largest annual gathering of world diplomacy for the third time. His first appearance, in 2019, was sown with a US political storm following a phone call between him and then US President Donald Trump. Trump was ultimately impeached following the appeal, in which he prompted Zelenskyy to investigate current President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

When the 2020 assembly meeting went virtual due to the pandemic, Zelenskyy expressed hope that the gathering would usher in a return to “effective multilateralism and effective international solidarity”.

A year later, a frustrated Zelenskyy concluded that the pandemic had shown that the world had “played oneness – where one thing is to share goals and another is to share vaccines.”

Unit professions seem to have a footnote, said the president of a country where about 12% of people are vaccinated: “We are all in one boat, but access to lifeboats is d ‘first given to first-class passengers. ”

As he has done in the past, Zelenskyy urged the world to issue a more effective challenge to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, a move Moscow described as protecting Russian speakers there. . The ensuing fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists left more than 14,000 dead and efforts to negotiate a political settlement have stalled.

“Maybe somewhere in Central Park or Madison Square Garden these gunshots aren’t heard as loud,” Zelenskyy said, referring to landmarks near the UN headquarters in New York. The powerful UN Security Council, where Russia has a veto, has never been able to take action against Ukraine.

“No one feels safe in this world anymore,” Zelenskyy said, warning against allowing national interests to blow up international relations and leaving only “the reign of brute force.”

Nor is the world significantly addressing issues that cross many national borders: climate change, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, air pollution, lack of access to clean water, etc. Every time the leaders get together for the assembly, “it’s like we’re voting to give some sort of ‘World Woe of the Year’ award,” to be replaced by another, he said.

“The world is just throwing all of this misfortune in a big bag, and it’s already tearing the seams apart,” Zelinskyy lamented. “The UN is like a retired superhero who has long forgotten how great they once were.”

But he went on to list the reasons to remember. He highlighted UN efforts such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, food programs, peacekeeping missions and UNICEF, the agency that helps children in more than 190 countries and territories.

“It’s our most valuable asset,” Zelenskyy said. “And that is why it will never be trite or outdated to call for unity for their good.”

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