Zelensky delivered a 5 point Formula for Peace to the U.N. that begins with punishment

Sarah Silbiger, Pool via AP

The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of allowing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to address them via video from Kyiv. Zelensky thanked the 101 members who voted yes to allowing his video presentation of a five-point plan for peace between Ukraine and Russia. He called out the seven countries that voted no and accused them of being afraid to hear his words. those countries are Russia, Syria, Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, and Nicaragua.

Zelensky offered a plan for peace that begins with punishment. Putin must be punished for his invasion into Ukraine and it starts with more sanctions. Zelensky said the time for diplomacy is over and talks with the Russians have failed. He reminded the audience that there were many talks before Putin’s invasion and yet those didn’t stop Putin from moving forward.

And Zelensky pointed out that the U.N. could use some reforming. He said that his plan can be used as a template by other countries who may find themselves in a conflict not of their own making.

“We held 88 rounds of talks in various formats to prevent this war, just from the beginning of my presidency until February 24 this year,” he recalled.

Zelensky claimed his peace plan would necessarily require significant reform of the United Nations, later questioning the logic of permanent seats on the Security Council for rogue states like Russia, and the toothlessness of U.N. agencies.

“I will present a formula that can work not only for us, but for anyone who may find themselves in similar circumstances as we did,” he said. “It is a formula that punishes crime, protects life, restores security and territorial integrity, guarantees security, and provides determination. There are five preconditions for peace.”

First, the punishment. Zelensky said that a crime has been committed against Ukraine and those demand punishment. Russia needs to feel the pressure of universal sanctions, starting with banning Russian tourists from entering other countries and including banning Russia from participating in international forums like the Security Council. Zelensky also wants commercial sanctions to diminish the Russian economy.

“Blocking the trade and relations with the aggressor is a part of the peace formula. All this is a punishment. So long as the aggressor is a party to decision-making in the international organizations, he must be isolated from them – at least until aggression lasts,” Zelensky argued. “Reject the right to vote. Deprive delegation rights. Remove the right of veto – if it is a Member of the UN Security Council.”

“Citizens of the aggressor state should not be allowed to enjoy tourism or shopping in the territory of those who value peace, but should be encouraged through visa restrictions to fight against the aggression of their own state,” he continued. “Punish for abetting the evil. A Special Tribunal should be created to punish Russia for the crime of aggression against our state. This will become a signal to all ‘would-be’ aggressors, that they must value peace or be brought to responsibility by the world.”

The other conditions for peace concern national security for Ukraine and protection of Ukrainians.

Zelensky also said Ukrainian lives must be protected and that the country’s internationally recognized borders be respected.

His fourth and fifth conditions included a call for new security guarantees for Ukraine and the world to unite in calling out Russia’s armed aggression.

Any hopes for Zelensky’s ideas for reforms at the U.N. are wishful thinking. There is no desire within that corrupt organization to change anything. He noted that Putin’s efforts to call up more soldiers to fight his war in Ukraine shows that Putin has no intention of ending his aggression. As always, Zelensky asked for more weapons and equipment, as well as financial support.

“”For us, this is a war for life. That is why we need defense support, weapons, military equipment and shells. Offensive weapons, a long-range one is enough to liberate our land, and defensive systems, above all, air defense. And we need financial support, to keep internal stability and fulfill social obligations to our people,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky took those countries who proclaim neutrality to task. That position creates war, he said.

“Those who speak of neutrality, when human values and peace are under attack, mean something else. They talk about indifference – everyone for themselves,” the Ukrainian president said. “Here’s what they say. They pretend to be interested in each other’s problems. They take care of each other formally. They sympathize only for protocol. And that is why they pretend to protect someone, but in reality, they protect only their vested interests.”

“This is what creates the conditions for war. This is what needs to be corrected in order to create conditions for peace,” he concluded.

The strength and courage of the Ukrainian people continue to inspire the Western world. Zelensky is committed to protecting the country from Putin’s grand plans of annexation. I doubt that Zelensky’s plan for peace will change conditions on the ground in either Russia or Ukraine. Putin is willing to fight as long as he can get men to send to do it. The Russian economy was unexpectedly resilient in the early months of war in Ukraine. The sanctions seem to be having a deep effect now, as time goes on. Russia has shut out the West but is still able to find willing countries to purchase energy. Russia’s standing as an energy superpower is diminishing.

Zelensky is right – further isolation of Russia is what needs to happen. Isolation means fewer countries from which Russia can buy goods and isn’t conducive to getting the best prices. Russia still purchases goods from China and India, for example.

Last month, Biden pledged a nearly $3 billion security assistance package to Ukraine. He told a reporter at the U.N. on Wednesday that he intends to continue supplying aid to Ukraine for as long as the war continues. That was quite a sweeping statement but we’ll have to wait and see if any White House staffers are sent out to clean that remark up.

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