'Evil cannot be trusted': Biden, Zelenskyy decry Russian aggression at UN: Updates

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Presidents Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelenskyy took their case for supporting Ukraine to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, with Biden claiming Moscow believes the world will grow weary of the war and allow Russian forces to "brutalize Ukraine without consequence."

Biden said that if Moscow is allowed to win in Ukraine, no country would be safe from "naked aggression."

"Russia alone bears responsibility for this war," Biden said. "Russia alone stands in the way of peace because Russia's price for peace is Ukraine's capitulation, Ukraine's territory and Ukraine's children."

Biden spoke hours before Zelenskyy made his case, accusing Russia and President Vladimir Putin of not only using the threat of nuclear war to get their way but also weaponizing food, energy and the forced deportation of children.

"While Russia is pushing the world to the final war, Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that after Russian aggression, no one in the world will dare to attack any nation,'' Zelenskyy said in concluding his address of nearly 15 minutes. "Weaponization must be restrained. War crimes must be punished. Deported people must come back home. And the occupier must return to their own land.''

Earlier, Zelenskyy said he doesn't believe Russia should remain a member of the global body given its audacious and bloody invasion of his country.

Sean McFate, a professor at Syracuse University and senior fellow at the nonpartisan Atlantic Council think tank, said the U.N. mission of preventing and ending wars has "become a punchline." He cited struggles in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Zaire and Somalia and genocides in Rwanda, Darfur and Iraq.

"Bigger question," McFate said in an email to USA TODAY. "Will the UN be around in 2050? Only on letterhead."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at Staten Island University Hospital in New York on Sept. 18, 2023.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at Staten Island University Hospital in New York on Sept. 18, 2023.

Zelenskyy to meet Biden: Ukraine leader will address Congress and UN: Updates


∎ In his most memorable line, Zelenskyy said, "Evil cannot be trusted. Ask Prigozhin if one bets on Putin's promises.'' Two months after spearheading a failed insurrection, mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in a suspicious plane crash.

∎ A judge in Moscow declined to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been held pending trial on espionage charges since March. Gershkovich, 31, will remain jailed at least until Nov. 30.

∎ A Russian guided aerial bomb slammed into the Kharkiv region city of Kupiansk, killing three civilians, Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram.

∎ Denmark will send 45 tanks purchased in cooperation with other countries to Ukraine, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said Tuesday.

∎ North Korean leader Kim Jong Un returned home from a six-day trip to Russia, where he met with Putin. Foreign experts suggest the two countries were trying to reach arms transfer deals in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Almost 50 Ukrainian children transported to Belarus

Nearly 50 Ukrainian children from occupied territories have arrived in Belarus, Russia's closest ally, Belarusian media reported Tuesday.

The 48 children came from the Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia provinces, three of the four regions Russia illegally annexed last year. The minors were seen in photos posted on the Belarus state news agency Belta holding the country's red and green flag while being flanked by police.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of kidnapping thousands of its children and indoctrinating them in Russian culture. In March, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Putin and his commissioner for children's rights, Maria Lvova-Belovafor, charging them with war crimes for the forcible removal of Ukrainian children.

Belarusian authorities did not say whether the newly arrived children were orphans or were removed from their parents without their consent, a charge previously levied by opposition figures and denied by government officials.

Ukraine's Black Sea shipping corridor working − for now

Ukraine's new shipping corridor in the Black Sea has so far allowed two cargo ships to arrive at the country and one of them to sail away with 3,000 tons of wheat toward Turkey. Whether this represents the new way for Ukraine to export its grain remains uncertain.

The Palau-flagged Resilient Africa, which along with fellow bulk carrier Aroyat docked in southern Ukraine's Chornomorsk port over the weekend, reached Romania's waters Tuesday evening, the New York Times reported. That makes it the first grain-carrying vessel to safely leave a Black Sea port in Ukraine since Russia withdrew in July from a nearly yearlong deal that allowed the exportation of Ukrainian agricultural products.

Since then, Russia has threatened hostile action against any ships in the Black Sea headed for Ukraine, contending they might be carrying military equipment. The temporary corridor seeks to establish safe passage on a route close to the coast before getting into the waters of Romania and Bulgaria, both of which are NATO members.

That doesn't guarantee the strategy will work.

“The corridor is a good idea, but I think it is a test of what the Russians will allow,” Sal Gilbertie, chief executive of the investment advisory firm Teucrium, told the Times.

Russia assault destroys 300 tons of humanitarian supplies

The warehouse of the nongovernmental organization Caritas-Spes was "burned to the ground" in the western Ukraine city of Lviv on Tuesday, destroying 300 tons of relief supplies, a U.N. agency said. Denise Brown, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said attacks targeting humanitarian assets have been escalating and "ultimately impact those who are suffering the horrific consequences" of a war that has dragged on for almost 19 months.

"Humanitarian workers, facilities and assets are protected under international humanitarian law," Brown said in a statement. "International humanitarian law is not an option, it is an obligation and must be upheld."

Ukraine denies NYT claim that deadly strike on city was friendly fire

Ukraine officials on Tuesday vehemently denied a New York Times report saying the Sept. 6 missile strike on Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine that killed at least 15 civilians apparently was by an errant Ukrainian missile. The Ukraine Security Service said its investigation determined a Russian S-300 missile was to blame. The agency cited rocket fragments seized at the scene.

Zelenskyy blamed Russian “terrorists” for the attack, which drew international outrage. But the New York Times says security camera footage indicates the "tragic mishap" was the result of a missile fired from Ukraine-held territory. Missile fragments, satellite imagery and witness accounts "strongly suggest" the missile was an errant Ukrainian air defense rocket fired by an old-school, Russian-made Buk launch system, the Times said.

Ukraine to get US Abrams tanks soon

The 31 high-tech, M1 Abrams tanks the United States committed to Ukraine will begin arriving in the embattled nation soon, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said Tuesday. Austin, speaking at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany that drew representatives from more than 50 countries, said the U.S. and Ukraine’s other allies have committed more than $76 billion in aide for Ukraine’s defense. Kyiv's counteroffensive aimed at reclaiming territory seized by Russia "continues to make steady forward progress," Austin said.

"The more Russia prolongs its war, the more glaring its cruelty becomes," Austin said. "Russia’s assaults have increased far beyond the battlefield and inflicted untold human suffering."

Ukraine to get top tanks: How help from US, Germany will aid in war with Russia

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ukraine war updates: Biden, Zelenskyy decry Russian aggression at UN