Zelenskyy calls on UN to cut diplomatic ties and 'isolate' Russia, saying Moscow only understands 'ultimatums'

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the United Nations to issue Russia ultimatums over diplomacy as the deadly war continues for a sixth week.

Zelenskyy, who has garnered international praise for his refusal to bend to Moscow’s aggression, said the United Nations has offered only “concern” for Ukrainians since Russia’s first invasion in 2014. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy listens during his meeting with President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 1, 2022.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“Unfortunately, not too many of our citizens survived after raising their concerns,” the president said in a Thursday interview with Indian television Republic Media Network. “You need to establish the isolation against the Russian Federation.” 

“We should not be using words of concern, we should be using the word…ultimatum,” Zelenskyy added. “Because they are using only the ultimatum in their conversation with us and the whole world.”

The United Nations General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Thursday following the revelation of war crimes over the last week.

Russian negotiators agreed last week to withdraw troops from the area surrounding Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv to “increase mutual trust.”

But following the removal of troops from areas around the capital, gruesome images surfaced and more than 400 civilians were found dead in the suburb of Bucha with bodies left abandoned on the streets or buried in mass graves.

Russia has denied reports of gross human rights abuses committed by Russian troops and has accused western nations like the U.S. of staging the atrocities that were found. 

The Kremlin announced it would terminate its membership on the UNHRC and accused the 93 member nations that voted in favor of suspension of “blackmail.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center left, examines the site of a recent battle in Bucha, close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

“In Russia’s view, the resolution … is an unlawful and politically motivated act of punishment designed to make an example of a sovereign U.N. member pursuing independent domestic and foreign policies,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 

Russia continues to sit as a permanent member on the U.N. Security Council, which gives it veto power over major international decisions.

Zelenskyy urged the U.N. this week to remove Russia from the top governing body – responsible for maintaining world security and peace – over its role in what he described as “the most terrible war crimes” since World War II.

A Ukrainian serviceman stands amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday.
(AP/Felipe Dana)

“If we are talking about the isolation of the Russian Federation with different international organizations, then there should be isolation,” Zelenskyy said. “No more just having meetings with them, sitting with them at a single table and talking to them on the need to saddle the issue and repeating the word ‘concern’.”

Zelenskyy said he is ready to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin “as soon as possible” for serious peace negotiations. 

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