Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama didn’t mince words Wednesday as he criticized Russia’s attempt to block Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from speaking at a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York.
Rama noted that notice of the speaking orders had been given in advance and any objections should have been made in advance.
“I want to assure our Russian colleagues and everyone here that this is not a special operation of the Albanian presidency,” Rama said, referring to Moscow’s formulation of its invasion of Ukraine.
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In response, Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador to the UN, said Albania had put its “political and ideological beliefs above the obligations” of the council.
Rama quickly attacked Nebenzia and Russia’s military ambitions in neighboring Ukraine.
“I have to say, coming out of all these rule-breaking lectures in this building is quite an impressive show,” he said. “But to the extent that you repeat it many times that the violation here is about President Zelensky speaking before the council members, there is a solution to that. If you agree, you stop the war and President Zelensky will not take the floor.”
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Zelensky, wearing his signature green army shirt, addressed the 15-member panel for the first time since Russia invaded his country in February 2022. In his remarks, he advocated aid to help Ukraine fend off Russian forces.
“Ukraine is exercising its right to self-defense,” Zelensky said. “Assisting Ukraine with arms in this exercise, by imposing sanctions and exerting overall pressure on the aggressor, as well as passing relevant resolutions, would mean helping to defend the United Nations Charter.”
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Several Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia and provided Ukraine with billions in military aid. In addition, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly has voted several times to condemn Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine.