Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday as he sought unity against Russia's war in Ukraine and warned "evil cannot be trusted."
Zelensky urged the nearly 200 world leaders inside U.N. General Assembly Hall at the United Nations headquarters to unify against Russia and warned the threat of Russia's nuclear weapons "is even greater," as the Kremlin continues to weaponize food, energy and children.
"Terrorists have no right to hold nuclear weapons. No right!" Zelensky said in a 20-minute speech, spoken entirely in English, as he warned about what he called a "final war."
"While nukes remain in place, the mass destruction is gaining its momentum," Zelensky said.
Ukraine gave up its third largest nuclear arsenal. The world then decided Russia should become a keeper of such power. Yet, history shows it was Russia who deserved nuclear disarmament the most. And Russia deserves it now - terrorists have no right to hold nuclear weapons. pic.twitter.com/5gsz3iijTf— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) September 19, 2023
"Once more, unity can prevent wars," Zelensky added, as he urged a complete nuclear disarmament. "It is a good strategy, but it should not be the only strategy to protect the world from the final war."
While Zelensky called nuclear weapons the greatest threat, he said Russia has weaponized everything in its war against Ukraine.
"The aggressor is weaponizing many other things and those things are used not only against our country, but against all of yours, as well."
"Many times the world has witnessed Russia using energy as a weapon. The Kremlin weaponized oil and gas to weaken the leaders of other countries when they came to the Red Square. And now this threat is even greater," Zelensky said.
"Russia is weaponizing nuclear energy. Not only it is spreading its unreliable nuclear power plant construction technologies, but it is also turning other countries' power plants into real dirty bombs," Zelensky warned.
"Is there any sense to reduce nuclear weapons when Russia is weaponizing nuclear power plants? Scary question," Zelensky said, before turning to Russia's weaponization of food.
"Since the start of the full-scale war, the Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea have been blocked by Russia," Zelensky said. "And it is clear Russia's attempt to weaponize the food shortage on the global market."
"Russia is launching the food prices as weapons. The impact extends from the Atlantic coast of Africa to Southeast Asia," he said, as he thanked leaders for their support of Ukraine's Black Sea Grain Initiative.
"We are working to ensure food stability and I know that many of you will join us in these efforts. We launched a temporary sea export corridor from our ports and we are working hard to preserve our land routes for grain exports," Zelensky added.
During his entire speech, there were frequent televised cutaways of a non-reactive Russian federation inside U.N. General Assembly Hall. Earlier Tuesday, Zelensky questioned why the United Nations still allows "Russian terrorists" a seat at the table.
"If in the United Nations there is a place for Russian terrorists," Zelensky said during a visit to meet wounded Ukrainian soldiers at New York's Staten Island University Hospital, "it's a question to all the members of the United Nations."
During the second half of his U.N. speech, Zelensky grew emotional as he talked about Russia's weaponization of children, calling it "a genocide."
"Unfortunately, various terrorist groups attacked children to put pressure on their families and societies. But never before the mass kidnapping and deportation would become a part of the government policy. Not until now."
"We know the names of tens of thousands of children. We have evidence on hundreds of thousands of others kidnapped by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine and later deported," Zelensky shouted.
"We are trying to get children back home. But time, time goes by. What will happen with them? What will happen to them? Those children in Russia are taught to hate Ukraine and all ties with their families are broken and this is clearly a genocide," he yelled.
Zelensky spent the final part of his speech warning all of the world leaders that if Russia succeeds, it will continue to wage war.
"Evil cannot be trusted. Ask Prigozhin," Zelensky said, referring to former Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led an armed rebellion in June against military leaders in Russia. He died in a plane crash last month under questionable circumstances.
"The goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into a weapon against you," Zelensky warned. "Many seats in the General Assembly hall may become empty, empty if Russia succeeds with its treachery and aggression."
"The aggressor scatters deaths and brings ruin even without nukes, but the outcomes are alike," Zelensky said. "We know the possible effects of spreading the war into cyberspace and the artificial intelligence could be trained."
"Thank God, people have not yet learned to use climate as a weapon," Zelensky quipped sarcastically, as he announced plans for a global peace summit to stop wars in the future.
"We are preparing a global peace summit and please, I invite all of you, all of you who do not tolerate any aggression to jointly prepare the summit," Zelensky said, before pleading once again for unity.
"Weaponization must be restrained. War crimes must be punished. Deported people must come back home. And the occupier must return to their own land. We must be united to make it."