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Zelensky proposes int’l observer mission on Ukraine-Belarus border

11.10.2022 23:00
Ukraine’s president has asked the Group of Seven rich nations to back his initiative for an international observer mission on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talks via video link to leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) club of rich nations on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talks via video link to leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) club of rich nations on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.PAP/EPA/Presidential Press Service

Volodymyr Zelensky made the plea in a speech to a virtual meeting of G7 leaders on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

He also asked the G7 to strengthen his country’s air defences against Russian attacks, a day after the Kremlin unleashed dozens of missiles on Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv, according to the British broadcaster BBC.   

‘We have to respond symetrically’

Zelensky told the virtual summit: “Russia has started a new stage of escalation, and therefore a new sanctions package is needed - a strong package. And I ask you to develop it!”

He added: “We have to respond symmetrically at the level of the entire Group of Seven, our entire democratic world: when Russia attacks the energy sector and energy stability of our countries, we must block its energy sector with sanctions, break the stability of Russian revenues from oil and gas trade.”

“A tough price cap is needed for the exports of oil and gas from Russia - zero profit for the terrorist state,” Zelensky stressed.

‘There can be no dialogue with this leader of Russia’

Zelensky went on to say: “We must also recognize the obvious fact: there can be no dialogue with this leader of Russia, who has no future … All of us in the world should realise: talks can be either with another head of Russia - who will comply with the UN Charter, the basic principles of humanity and territorial integrity of Ukraine - or in a different configuration, so that the key terrorist does not have the opportunity to influence key decisions through terror. Now one person is blocking peace - and this person is in Moscow.”

According to the Ukrainian president, “such steps can bring peace closer - they will encourage the terrorist state to think about peace, about the unprofitability of war.”

Air defences

Zelensky told G7 leaders: “I thank everyone who has already helped us secure our air defence system, which allows us to neutralise some of the Russian missiles and drones. But, ccording to our intelligence, Russia ordered 2,400 "Shaheds" [kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicles] alone from Iran.”

He added: “And that’s why, dear Mr. Chancellor [Olaf Scholz], dear President of the United States [Joe Biden], it is important that we have sufficient missiles for the air defence and anti-missile systems provided and that these systems are integrated with our defence system. Tomorrow in the format of Ramstein I would ask that our defence ministers discuss this.”

Zelensky also said: “Mr. President of France [Emmanuel Macron]! Mr. Prime Minister of Italy [Mario Draghi]! We are very much looking forward to the delivery of the SAMP-T systems [of surface-to-air missiles]. And if possible, they are needed in the coming months.”

He stated: “When Ukraine receives a sufficient number of modern and effective air defense systems, the key element of Russian terror - missile strikes - will cease to work.”

International observer mission on Belarus border

Zelensky proposed that an international observer mission be deployed along the Ukraine-Belarus border. 

Belarus, a close Russian ally, this week announced that its troops would be deployed with Russian forces near Ukraine, suggesting a potential further escalation of the war, the Reuters news agency reported. 

So far, Belarus’ role has been as a launching post for the invasion, according to news outlets.

Zelensky warned: “The territory of Belarus is already used for strikes against Ukraine. And now we see a bigger threat. Russia is trying to directly draw Belarus into this war, playing a provocation that we are allegedly preparing an attack on this country.”

He added: “Indirectly it [Russia] has already involved them. And now it wants to involve them directly.”

The Ukrainian president proposed: “A mission of international observers may be stationed on the border of Ukraine and Belarus to monitor the security situation. The format can be worked out by our diplomats. And I ask you at the level of the Group of Seven to support this initiative of ours.”

Zelensky stressed: “Ukraine did not plan and does not plan military actions against Belarus. We are only interested in restoring our territorial integrity.”

G7 leaders vow to support Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes’

Meanwhile, the leaders of the G7 club--the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Britain and the European Union--said in a joint statement: “We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support and will stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

They added: “We remain ready to reach arrangements together with interested countries and institutions and Ukraine on sustained security and other commitments to help Ukraine defend itself, secure its free and democratic future, and deter future Russian aggression.”

According to the G7 leaders, a “just peace” should include “respecting the UN Charter’s protection of territorial integrity and sovereignty; safeguarding Ukraine’s ability to defend itself in the future; ensuring Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction, including exploring avenues to do so with funds from Russia; pursuing accountability for Russian crimes committed during the war.”

'We will hold President Putin and those responsible to account'

The G7 leaders condemned Russia’s most recent missile attacks on civilian infrastructure and cities across Ukraine, and the resulting deaths of civilians.

They said: “We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms and recall that indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilian populations constitute a war crime. We will hold President Putin and those responsible to account.”

They added they would "continue to impose further economic costs on Russia, including on individuals and entities – inside and outside of Russia – providing political or economic support for Russia’s illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory."

The statement also condemned Russia’s “attempted annexation” of parts of Ukraine, “Russia's actions at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant,” as well as the Kremlin’s “escalatory steps, including the partial mobilisation of reservists and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric.”

“We reaffirm that any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences,” the G7 leaders also said.

They reiterated their call on Belarus “to stop enabling the Russian war of aggression."

Tuesday was day 230 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAP, Reuters, bbc.com, president.gov.ua, consilium.europa.eu