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Zelensky urges ‘just punishment’ for Russia in U.N. address

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for Russia to be punished for their unfettered aggression at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21. (Video: AP)

In an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country’s people “demand just punishment” for Russia’s “crime” during the war. Zelensky’s pre-recorded address was an exemption to the rule requiring in-person speeches at this year’s session.

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President Biden in his address said that Russia’s war in Ukraine is about extinguishing the country’s right to exist, and he accused Russia of “extremely significant” violations of the U.N. charter.

Why the world is so worried about Russia’s ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons

The speeches came after U.S. and European officials decried as a dangerous escalation Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he would call up as many as 300,000 reservists. In a national address Wednesday, Putin made a threatening reference to Russia’s nuclear arsenal: “With a threat to the territorial integrity of our country, to protect Russia and our people, we of course will use all the means at our disposal. This is not a bluff.”

Here’s what to know:

  • More than 200 Ukrainians — including Azov Regiment commander Denys Prokopenko and many fighters — were released in a prisoner swap.
  • Demand for one-way flights out of Russia appeared to soar after Putin’s announcement that reservists would be called up for his war against Ukraine.
  • Ukraine’s military said that Russian forces continued to shell locations throughout the country with artillery and rocket attacks, while Ukraine troops repelled offensives along the front line in Ukraine’s east and south.
  • More than 1,000 people in Russia have been detained for demonstrating against Putin’s mobilization order since protests broke out, according to the independent protest-monitoring group OVD-Info.