It seems like everyone is talking about Ukraine at the 77th UN General Assembly in New York.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had people challenging the UN's utility, and even forced the organization to initiate talks about reform.
Still the talk is not all bad for the 77-year old international forum: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been promoting his Black Sea Grain Initiative, a breakthrough UN initiative signed in July to unblock the Ukrainian grain exports. He says that strengthening it is still one of his keygoals.
Progress on the initiative is indeed urgent: If the UN fails to unblock the export of Russian fertilizers through Ukraine, the world might face multiple famines in 2023, Guterres said. Farmers in many areas of the Global South have already been forced to reduce their sowing areas due to the climate crisis and lack of fertilizers, previously provided by Russia and Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has its own goals during the 77th UNGA, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement ahead of the High-Level Week at the General Assembly on Sept. 19-23.
“The General Assembly gives us chance to speak to those parts of the world we are not in constant contact with – Asian, African, Latin American,and Pacific region countries,” Kuleba said, acknowledging that world support for Ukraine in its battle for freedom from Russia is not unanimous.
Earlier Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is now expected to speak during the General Assembly via video conference, underlined three key priorities:
- Strengthening the international coalition on the grain initiative;
- Improving relations with the Global South;
- Bringing Russia to justice for its crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
Ukraine will also lobby for a UN resolution that will allow it to create a mechanism to arrest more than $300 billion of Russian assets abroad and send them for the reconstruction of Ukraine, UK newspaper the Guardian recently reported.
Kuleba, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and First Lady Olena Zelenska will represent Ukraine during the General Assembly in New York.
NV sources say besides meeting the United States Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Ukraine’s foreign minister has limited his bilateral meetings schedule to the countries of the Global South, where Russian propaganda dominates the information field.