Zelenskyy calls for Russia to be stripped of UN veto power but avoids face-to-face with Lavrov

The atmosphere at the UN security council was tense as Zelenskyy laid into Russia for their 'illegal invasion' of his country, as ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore reports

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged world leaders to unite against Russia’s war in his country and strip Moscow of its veto power on the United Nations Security Council.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Mr Zelenskyy described Russia's President Vladimir Putin as an increasingly lonely figure on the world stage.

“Ukraine wants peace, Europe wants peace, the world wants peace, and we have seen who is the only one who wants war," he said at the summit on Wednesday.

"There is only one entity among all UN member states, who would say now, if he could interrupt my speech that he’s happy with this war."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stands as people applaud after his address at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday Credit: Seth Wenig/AP

He also predicted that Russia intended to use the winter to prepare its forces for a renewed assault on Ukraine.

Before the meeting started, there was intense speculation about whether Mr Zelenskyy and Russia's top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, would clash, speak or totally avoid each other. But no confrontation happened because the Ukraine president left the council soon after his address.

Earlier in the day, Putin announced the “partial mobilisation” of Russian citizens to support the invasion, and raised the specter of using nuclear weapons.

In his speech to the UN, Mr Zelenskyy disregarded the idea of “neutrality” toward the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, warning that indifference itself is what creates the conditions for war.

He denounced Russia as “a terrorist state” while Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia sat facing him near the other end of the table.

“Those who speak of neutrality, when human values and peace are under attack, mean something else. They talk about indifference – everyone for themselves,” Mr Zelenskyy said.

The Ukrainian leader is also advocating for the 10-point Ukrainian Peace Formula to solve conflicts even beyond Russia’s war in his country.

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy listens as US President Joe Biden addresses the United Nations General Assembly. Credit: AP

Speaking to ITV News' Anushka Asthana in a pre-recorded interview for TV show Peston, Nato General Secretary Anders Rasmussen, was asked, if Ukraine becomes a member of Nato while Russian forces are still on the ground there, what the alliance should do?

He said: "We have a precedent for this. Back in 1955 Germany joined Nato - the whole of Germany joined Nato - but at the same time we acknowledged that Eastern Germany that de facto was occupied by Russia, or the Soviet Union at that time, would not be covered by Article Five.

"We could use that as a template."

When asked whether he was calling for Ukraine to join but not be covered by Article Five, Mr Rasmussen said: "No, I'm calling for the whole of Ukraine joining Nato but you could say that only territory controlled by the government in Kyiv is covered by Article Five."

“We must stand up to this naked aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow,” US President Joe Biden had told the assembly on Tuesday, as he pledged to continue to support to Ukraine.

Mr Zelenskyy is scheduled to spend time on Thursday on Capitol Hill and he is set to meet with Biden at the White House.

Russia will get its chance to address the General Assembly on Saturday.

The full interview with  former Nato General Secretary Anders Rasmussen will air on Peston, on ITV1 & ITVX at 10.45pm.

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