Russia Trying To ‘Humiliate’ United Nations With Kyiv Airstrikes, Zelensky Says

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Robert Hart   Forbes U.S. Staff

Russia Trying To ‘Humiliate’ United Nations With Kyiv Airstrikes, Zelensky Says

Photo: António Guterres Twitter

Topline

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of trying to “humiliate” the United Nations by attacking Kyiv during a visit by Secretary General António Guterres on Thursday, breaking a period of relative peace in the city amid reports of heavy losses on both sides in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow is focusing its offensive.

Key facts

On Friday, Russia said its forces targeted production facilities for a space-rocket plant in Kyiv with high precision long-range missiles on Thursday, the same day Guterres toured the city, slammed attacks on civilians and said the war was an “absurdity in the 21st century.”

The missiles struck around an hour after Guterres and Zelensky held a joint news conference after a period of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital as Russia shifts its focus east.

Zelensky said the attack was an effort to “humiliate the UN and everything that the Organization represents.”

It says “a lot about Russia’s true attitude to global institutions,” he added.

Zelensky said the attack merited a “strong response.”

Key Background 

The UN has come under heavy fire for its handling of the crisis in Ukraine and has faced criticisms of inaction in the face of atrocities committed there. Zelensky himself has frequently criticized the organization for its impotence, notably the UN Security Council, which he said does little to offer the security it supposedly guarantees. The Council, which has yet to pass a single resolution condemning the war, is stymied by the fact that its five permanent members—the U.S., U.K., Russia, China and France—can veto any bill. Even the threat of a veto can paralyze discussion and Russia, including those used by the Soviet Union, has exercised the power more than any other member. Until recently, veto wielders have not even needed to provide a reason for their action, though the General Assembly voted to require the permanent members to explain their choice this week.

What To Watch For

War crimes charges. Ukrainian authorities filed criminal charges against 10 Russian soldiers for allegedly taking civilians hostage and mistreating them. Ukrainian investigators are reportedly looking into more than 8,000 cases, prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said. On Friday, the U.K. sent a group of war crimes experts to Ukraine to support teams with their investigations.

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Robert Hart   Forbes U.S. Staff

I am a London-based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news. Previously, I have worked as a reporter for a specialist legal publication covering big data and as a freelance journalist and policy analyst covering science, tech and health. I have a master’s degree in Biological Natural Sciences and a master’s degree in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge.