Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky will address world leaders at the UN General Assembly via video Wednesday — just hours after Russia announced a partial mobilization of reservists to be called up to fight in the war that has already killed thousands.
Zelensky is the only leader that will be allowed to deliver a pre-recorded address after the 193-member assembly agreed last week that he needed to deal with the Russian war unfolding in his country.
US President Joe Biden and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who are two other leaders set to have their say, will deliver their remarks in person from New York.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not attending the annual gathering of world leaders.
Ukraine has routinely been the center of attention at the assembly as world leaders repeatedly condemned Russia for launching its invasion of the sovereign country.
Zelensky’s pre-recorded remarks will air in front of the assembly hours after Putin delivered his own national address warning that he would use all the means available to protect Russia’s territory.
“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said, adding, “It’s not a bluff.”
Putin accused the West of engaging in “nuclear blackmail” and noted “statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia.” He didn’t identify who had made such comments.
Russia’s strongman also said he had signed a decree for the partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists to help provide back up amid the conflict — the first mobilization in Russia since World War II.
Ahead of his UN remarks, a spokesman for Zelensky called the mobilization a “big tragedy” for the Russian people.
In a statement, Sergii Nikiforov said conscripts sent to the front line in Ukraine would face a similar fate as ill-prepared Russian forces who were repelled in an attack on Kyiv in the first days of the invasion last February.
“This is a recognition of the incapacity of the Russian professional army, which has failed in all its tasks,” Nikiforov said.
With Post wires