Ukraine's United Nations ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya addresses the special session of the General Assembly [Michael M Santiago/Getty Images/via AFP]
Ukraine has condemned Russia as a “terrorist state” for launching missile attacks on major cities, including the capital Kyiv, at a United Nations General Assembly meeting initially called to discuss Moscow’s annexation of four partly-occupied regions of Ukraine.
“Russia has proven once again that this is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways,” said Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN in his opening remarks, adding his own immediate family had come under attack.
“Unfortunately, you can hardly call for a stable and sane peace as long as an unstable and insane dictatorship exists in your vicinity,” he added, telling member states at least 14 civilians had been killed and 97 wounded in the attacks, which began on Monday morning.
In response, Vassily Nebenzia of Russia did not directly address the missile strikes but defended his country’s annexation of the four Ukrainian regions.
“We are being accused when we are trying to protect our brothers and sisters in eastern Ukraine,” he said.
The assembly is set to vote later in the week on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s “attempted illegal annexations” of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson following “so-called referendums”, stressing they have “no validity under international law”.
It calls on all states, international organisations and agencies not to recognise the annexations and demands the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
Russia’s bid for the 193-member body to make the vote a secret ballot was rejected, with only 13 countries supporting the call.