Ukraine war threatens nuclear disaster and highlights UN divisions, takes center stage in General Assembly

United nations UN officials had hoped that this year the General Assembly would take place in New York — the first annual gathering of nearly 200 nations at the world body since Corona Virus The pandemic hit – it will take a broad focus on the many crises facing humanity at the moment. But with the outbreak of war Ukraine Threaten to add nuclear catastrophe to that long list, it’s hard to imagine that the UN General Assembly would have so much attention to spare for other pressing issues.

After two years of video and mixed meetings, the Global Series of Diplomacy returns to New York this week: Representatives from 193 governments gathered in the famous General Assembly Hall, including more heads of state than ever before, according to the White House.

They meet this year as the ongoing war in Ukraine advances to Europe with A very real nuclear threat. On Monday, Ukraine again accused Vladimir Putin’s regime of “nuclear terrorism” after that Russian missile hit Near a nuclear power plant in the south of the country.


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Leaders gathered at United Nations Headquarters in the coming days will hear a live video appeal from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help defend his nation from Russian aggression.

UN delegates had to vote on whether Zelensky should be allowed to address the assembly from his home country, where this year’s speakers will have to attend in person. Russia objected, but the other members voted to allow it due to “foreign invasion, aggression and ongoing military hostilities which do not allow the safe exit from and return to Ukraine”.

Putin will not attend the General Assembly.

However, the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, will be in New York this week. With a focus on Ukraine, she is set to launch her charitable foundation, the Olena Zelenska Foundation, to raise money for medicine, education and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine at an event Thursday night at the Metropolitan Opera.

“Ukraine has never before sent a representative to the United States to seek help from the American people,” said Dr. Amanda Foreman, historian and CBS News contributor.

Climate change

Despite the heavy focus on the Ukraine war and the global food crisis it sparked, world leaders will also meet in standard Pakistan floods continue to inflict significant losses, both economic and human, and immediately after Hurricane Fiona It hit the Dominican Republic, causing “catastrophic” damage. a huge storm It also hit Alaska earlier this week.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres: “Don’t drown the world today; don’t drown it tomorrow” Reporters last weekHe warned that his recent visit to flood-stricken Pakistan offered him a troubling look at the “future of perpetual and widespread climate chaos on an unimaginable scale”.


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Guterres emphasized the climate crisis in his opening speech to the high-level debate on Tuesday, noting that geopolitical divisions are crippling “the global response to the dramatic challenges we face.”

“Let’s say it as it is: our world is addicted to fossil fuels,” he told delegates assembled on Tuesday. “It’s time to step in. We need to hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers to account.”

He called on advanced economies to tax the profits of fossil fuel companies and use the money to compensate other nations for the damages of climate change, and to help people suffering from rising energy prices.

“The polluters must pay the price,” the UN Secretary-General said.

Reform the faltering United Nations

United Nations General Assemblies The news brought – and traffic jam — since 1945. Since then, 13 US presidents have used speeches to the assembly to define America’s place in the world — as President Biden is expected to do with his speech on Wednesday.

The United States is leading the course on reforming the United Nations at a time when the world body appears to be mired in the structure created when it was established after World War II. UN rules — which give permanent members of the Security Council the ability to unilaterally block decisions — have left it unable to stop the war in Ukraine, or prevent that war from wreaking havoc on global supply chains and food distribution.


UN Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield discusses the General Assembly agenda

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On Wednesday, Mr. Biden will focus on renewing engagement with all regions of the world with a message that “respect for the fundamental principles of the international order is needed now more than ever.” According to John KirbyUS National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications.

“The United Nations is now facing a crisis of confidence,” said the US ambassador to the United Nations. Linda Thomas Greenfield said. “It is a crisis of confidence caused by Russia’s gratuitous war in Ukraine. Even when the world was facing the threat of climate change, a pandemic, and a global food crisis, a permanent member of the Security Council invaded its neighbor.”

“This war is testing the basic principles on which the United Nations was founded, but our response to Russia’s blatant violations cannot be to abandon the founding principles of this organization that we strongly believe in,” she said, adding that the General Assembly “would not be.” Dominated by “Ukraine.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres was to open Tuesday’s high-level sessions “with a realistic, objective and solutions-focused report card on the state of our world, where geopolitical divisions have put us at risk.”

The United Nations Security Council will hold a sideline meeting on Thursday on Ukrainian sovereignty and Russian accountability, in the presence of the US Secretary of State and the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine and Russia. The United States will seek to highlight the atrocities being committed in Ukraine, to further isolate Russia.


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But Guterres did not express any optimism about potential breakthroughs during that meeting.

“Anything that can help rebuild trust is helpful, but it would be naive to think that we are so close to the possibility of a peace agreement.” He told CBS News at a press conference.

Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld once said: “The United Nations was not created in order to bring us to heaven, but to save us from hell.”

This week will give world leaders time to reflect on the urgency of this goal.

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