- Making his first in-person speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of committing genocide and called on world leaders to unite against 'Russian aggression.'1
- Zelenskyy accused Russia of weaponizing energy and food security, and 'kidnapping' tens of thousands of children from occupied territory in Ukraine.2
- 'We know the names of tens of thousands of children and have evidence on hundreds of thousands of others kidnapped by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine and later deported,' Zelenskyy said. 'The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrant for [Russian Pres.] Putin for this crime ... This is clearly a genocide.'2
- These remarks came as Ukrainian lawyers have this week urged judges at the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands to make the same classification of genocide — though a panel has yet to rule on whether the case can proceed. If it does, a final ruling could still be years away.3
- Meanwhile, Russia has argued that children were not abducted, but rather evacuated from war zones with the consent of their parents and in line with international humanitarian law. It said that in a minority of cases, orphans were transferred to Russia and placed with guardians, but said this was only a temporary measure.4
- Elsewhere in his speech, Zelenskyy called on world leaders to attend a Ukraine-led peace summit to end the war — further details of which he said he would announce on Wednesday. He said that the Ukrainian plan — which involves a Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territory, accountability for war crimes and restitution for damages — represented 'a real chance to end aggression on the terms of the nation which was attacked.'5
- Pro-Ukraine narrative, as provided by European pravda. Russia's imperial war against Ukraine is an attempt to deny Ukraine of its existence and wipe it off the face of the map. This has been repeatedly shown in Russia's deliberate attacks on civilians and energy infrastructure, as well as its abduction of tens of thousands of children. This is clearly genocide.
- Narrative B, as provided by Politico. While Russia can rightly be accused of many things in Ukraine, including starting the war and committing war crimes, there's no evidence to support the statement that it's deliberately trying to exterminate the people of Ukraine. The crime of genocide is the most serious violation of international law and we risk watering it down if we start playing fast and loose with the term.