Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will come face to face with his Ukrainian and Western counterparts when the United Nations Security Council meets over the Ukraine crisis.
Russia is set to face direct pressure at the United Nations over its military offensive Ukraine, whose leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed to the world to punish Moscow.
As global leaders convene for the annual General Assembly on Thursday, the Security Council will hold a special session among foreign ministers called by France on impunity for rights abuses in Ukraine.
The session is expected to bring Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov face to face with top Western diplomats, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
After two years of pandemic restrictions, only one leader was still allowed to address the General Assembly virtually — Zelenskyy, who in a pre-recorded video called 15 times for "punishment" of Russia and received a rare standing ovation.
"Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory. Punishment for the murders of thousands of people. Punishment for tortures and humiliations of women and men," Zelenskyy said in English.
He said his five non-negotiable conditions for peace included punishment for Russian aggression, restoration of Ukraine's security, and territorial integrity and security guarantees.
"...This is the first item of our peace formula. Comprehensive item. Punishment," Zelenskyy told the assembly.
He called for a special tribunal to hold Russia accountable, saying it would be a "signal to all would-be aggressors". He also demanded a compensation fund, saying Russia "should pay for this war with its own assets."
Ukraine's Zelenskyy in recorded address to #UNGA:— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 21, 2022
– Punish Russia by stripping its veto right at UNSC
– Vows to reclaim "our entire territory" but seeks more weapons
– We demand "just punishment" for Russian crimes pic.twitter.com/Y2reSpSSvv
'Russia is afraid of real negotiations'
Zelenskyy made clear he saw no point to immediate talks, saying Russia only used diplomacy to buy time on the battlefield.
"Russia is afraid of real negotiations and does not want to fulfil any fair international obligations. It lies to everyone — as is typical for aggressors, for terrorists."
He pointed to the lack of African and Latin American representation on the Security Council as he called for Russia to be stripped of its veto power.
Thursday's Security Council meeting will take place a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin mobilised reservists and made a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons, signs that he is in no rush to end the conflict.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan will brief the 15-member body.
The council has been unable to take any meaningful action on Ukraine because Russia is a permanent veto-wielding member along with the United States, France, Britain and China. The meeting on Thursday will be at least the 20th time the Security Council has met on Ukraine this year.
After Guterres and Khan brief, the 15 council members will speak, followed by Ukraine, several European countries, Belarus and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
Russian President Vladimir Putin orders partial mobilisation of reservists amid the country's 'special military operation' in Ukraine. Wait, what does it mean? Here we explain 👇 pic.twitter.com/3hKvFijsZr— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 21, 2022