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Tipsheet

Zelensky Doubles Down on Condemning Russian 'Genocide'

AP Photo/Ronald Zak

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has certainly been viewed as a hero to his people and an inspiration to the rest of the world as he defends his homeland from Russian invaders. As Landon and Matt have covered, he's turned down a ride out of the country offered by the United States, telling them "I need ammunition, not a ride." He's also continued to call for sanctions against Russia. Further news from this weekend shows Zelensky's taken other concrete steps against Russia as well. 

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Zelensky has been letting the world know he's still alive, as well as rallying his fellow Ukrainians and even other people around the world and making his requests known, via video appearances and tweets

On Saturday, Zelenksky tweeted a call to remove Russia from the UN Security Council, as he referred to Russia's actions against Ukraine as "genocide."

Such a call from Zelensky comes after Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning them for the invasion, as Matt highlighted. In a show of tragic irony, Russia is also holding the seat of the presidency on the council this month, which means they presided over the vote. 

Zelensky also tweeted about the vote, thanking the members who voted for the resolution, but also called Russia's veto "a bloodstain on its plaque in the Security Council."

As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia is one of the five nations to hold such veto power. A list that has not yet been updated to reflect Friday's veto shows that Russia has used its veto power 120 times, far more than any other nation. 

According to a report by Patrick Wintour for The Guardian, there is an "Effort under way to challenge Russia’s right to seat on UN security council." 

The Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, told Wednesday night’s meeting that article 4 of the UN charter says the UN is open only to peace-loving states that accept the terms of the charter. He said Russia’s actions showed it could not comply with those terms. 

But he also asked Guterres to distribute to the security council the legal memos written by UN legal counsel dated 19 December 1991 that the Russian Federation be permitted to join the security council as the successor to the Soviet Union. Ukraine claims the constituent republics of the USSR declared in 1991 that the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and with it should have gone the legal right of any of those entities, including Russia, to sit on the council. 

No decision to permit Russia to the security council was ever put to the General Assembly. The UN charter was never amended after the USSR broke up. It still references the Soviet Union, and not Russia, as one of the permanent members of the UN security council.

By contrast in 1991 China’s entry into the UN was subject to a resolution. A member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the principles contained in the present charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the security council.

The Russians claim its actions were taken in line with clause 51 of the charter citing self-defence.

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More recently, a Fox News update on Sunday cited U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield noted that the Security council, "for the first time in decades," has "called for an Emergency Special Session in the General Assembly." The ambassador also said that the "Council members who supported this resolution recognize that this is no ordinary moment."

On Sunday, Zelensky mentioned Russia's "genocide" once more when he tweeted that Ukraine has submitted an application against Russia to the International Court of Justice, which is also part of the United Nations. 

The casualty count, which appears to have last been updated on Saturday morning is at 198 people, including three children. Of the 1,115 wounded, 33 are children. A humanitarian crisis has emerged as well, as 368,000 people have fled the country, and 4.5 million more could follow, according to a report from The Guardian that references the UN and Ukrainian authorities. 

I've also been covering chatter about negotiations for a ceasefire, which first appeared to start on Friday. On Saturday, a spokesperson for Zelensky mentioned that they would not agree to "unacceptable conditions." They also rejected meeting in Belarus. 

Sunday brought another update on that front, as Ukraine has reportedly agreed to meet in Belarus after all. Another Fox News update cited Zelensky and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko have announced talks will take place between Russia and Ukraine. 

The meeting will take place along the Ukraine-Belarus border in the area of the Pripyat River. The update also cited Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin sharing that the meeting would happen on Monday. 

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However, Griffin also shared on air with Fox News that Zelensky has doubts the talks will "bear fruit." 

Zelensky also continues to ask for aid, which the Biden administration has authorized to the tune of $350 million. Zelensky has also called for people from around the world to volunteer to fight for Ukraine as well in one of his video addresses. 

These efforts seem to have been working, at least when it comes to other countries providing assistance. The Biden administration has finally started imposing sanctions recently, and, as other countries as well as the European Union, have done so, these sanctions have increased.

In a Sunday statement from the European Commission, President Ursula von der Leyen laid out how "the European Union steps up once more its support for Ukraine and the sanctions against the aggressor – Putin's Russia." 

"For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack," the statement also noted. 

Last night, as I covered, the White House released a joint statement with European countries blocking "selected" Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system. The Russian ruble has also fallen 20 percent as a result of international sanctions. 

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