Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has joked about the death of Wagner warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin during his speech to the United Nations.
During a 20-minute address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday in New York, Mr Zelensky said “evil cannot be trusted”, referencing Vladimir Putin’s pledge to Prigozhin to exile him to Belarus following his mutiny in June.
The former comedian later joked that one need only “ask Prigozhin if one bets on Putin’s promises”.
Two months to the day after Putin’s post-munity proposal, Prigozhin’s private jet was seen falling from the sky while flying from Moscow to St Petersburg. He, as well as the logistics head and the main commander of the mercenary outfit, were later confirmed dead.
While Putin is not in attendance at the UN meeting, Russia’s long-standing foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to speak on Saturday.
Tensions at the summit were already high when Mr Zelensky took the stage just after 7pm GMT.
He had earlier complained that the UN invite had been extended to Russian “terrorists”, adding that he was unsure how he would react when he was made to sit in a room with Lavrov during an upcoming security council meeting.
During his speech, deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky sat in Russia’s seat.
During US President Joe Biden’s earlier speech, in which he rallied for continued Ukrainian support, Polyansky spent much of it staring at his phone.
Mr Zelensky said in his address that Russia was “weaponising” everything from food and energy to abducted children in its war against Ukraine, and he warned world leaders that the same could happen to them.
“When hatred is weaponised against one nation, it never stops there,” he said. “The goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into weapons against you — against the international rules-based order.”
He pointed to the war’s effect on fuel and food supplies, and he highlighted what Ukraine says were at least tens of thousands of children taken from their families after Moscow’s invasion: “What will happen to them?”
Source of data and images: daily-express