Atrocities committed by Russian troops are “the most terrible crimes we have seen since the end of World War Two”, President Zelenskyy has told the United Nations in an emotional speech.
Earlier in the week the Ukrainian head of state visited the town of Bucha where a mass grave was found and several bodies had been left in the street after Russian troops fled.
The Kremlin has said the idea that Russian troops were responsible for atrocities is a “provocation” but in his address to the UN, President Zelenskyy said it is clear that Russia is murdering civilians:
“There is not a single crime that they would not commit there,” he told delegates via videolink and flanked by the Ukrainian flag.
“The Russians searched for and purposely killed anyone who served our country.
"They shot and killed women outside their houses.
"They killed entire families – adults and children – and they tried to burn the bodies.”
Bucha, he added, was “only one of many examples of what the occupiers have been doing on our land for the past 41 days”.
Mr Zelenskyy also called for those responsible to be tried in post-war trials like those carried out for prominent Nazis in Nuremberg:
“The Russian military and those who gave them orders must be brought to justice immediately for war crimes in Ukraine,” he continued.
“Anyone who has given criminal orders and carried them out by killing our people will be brought before the tribunal, which should be similar to the Nuremberg tribunal.”
Pointedly, he addressed the Russian diplomats serving at the UN:
“I would like to remind Russian diplomats that men like Von Ribbentrop [Hitler’s Minister for Foreign Affairs] did not escape prosecution for crimes in World War Two,” he noted icily.
Russians, he continued, need to be made an example of in order to deter “other potential war criminals in the world”.
Security Council reform
Mr Zelenskyy was also blunt in his demand for reform of the United Nations Security Council - of which Russia is a permanent member with veto wielding powers:
“They are turning the veto in the United Nations security council into the right to die and threatening the entire basis of the international order,” he fumed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to close the UN? If the answer is no, then you need to act immediately.”
Mr Zelenskyy has addressed numerous national legislatures and tomorrow it is the turn of Oireachtas Éireann.
All diplomats serving in Dublin have been invited to attend by the Ceann Comhairle.
However, there will be at least one absence; Yury Filatov, the Russian Ambassador, has indicted he will not be there.
Main image: A split-screen of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Un Security Council.