Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to take action to stop Russian air strikes targeting vital infrastructure that have once again plunged Ukrainian cities into darkness and cold as winter sets in.
Russia unleashed a missile barrage across Ukraine earlier in the day, forcing shutdowns of nuclear power plants and killing civilians in Kyiv.
“Today is just one day but we have received 70 missiles. That’s the Russian formula of terror,” Zelensky said via video link to the council chamber in New York, adding that hospitals, schools, transport infrastructure and residential areas had all been hit.
Ukraine is waiting to see “a very firm reaction” to Wednesday’s air strikes from the world, he added.
The council is unlikely to take any action in response to the appeal since Russia is a member with veto power.
Zelensky called for Russia to be denied a vote on any decision concerning its actions.
“We cannot be hostage to one international terrorist,” he said. “Russia is doing everything to make an energy generator a more powerful tool than the UN Charter.”
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Putin was “clearly weaponizing winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people.”
The Russian president “will try to freeze the country into submission,” she added.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya responded by complaining that it was against council rules for Zelensky to appear via video, and rejected what he called “reckless threats and ultimatums” by Ukraine and its supporters in the West.
Nebenzya said damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure was caused by missiles fired by air defence systems that crashed into civilian areas after being fired at Russia’s missiles, and called on the West to stop providing Ukraine with air defence missiles.