Advances in weaponry have made the world smaller, which means leaders are not only responsible for the fate of their citizens but of everyone else on the planet, the President of Ukraine told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said ongoing conflict in places such Syria and Yemen, and his own country, reveal that war is the biggest threat to human civilization.
“Do not think that war is far away. Methods of warfare, technologies and weapons facilities have proved that our planet is no longer that big,” he stated.
“This means that every leader bears his share of responsibility: not only for the destiny of his or her country, but for the whole world. In my opinion, we all need to understand that a strong leader is not the one who, without a blink of an eye, sends thousands of troops to a sure death. A strong leader is one who cares about the life of every person.”
President Zelenskyy further called for international support for Ukraine “five years into war with Russia,” which has resulted in more than 13,000 deaths.
Holding up a bullet, he told the story of a Ukrainian soloist with the Paris Opera who was among those killed in the fighting.
“By the way, it costs only 10 US dollars,” he said. “And this is, unfortunately, the price of a human life on our planet. There are thousands of such stories. There are millions of such bullets.”
For Mr. Zelenskyy, there is no thinking globally while also turning away from issues that might seem trivial. He said this is how countries entered into two world wars.
He wondered if humanity has forgot lessons learned from history.
“From this highest world rostrum, we always hear the calls for fair changes, righteous promises, new initiatives. It is high time to ensure that those calls are backed up by deeds because in a modern world, where human life costs just 10 dollars, the words are depreciated,” he stated.
The Ukrainian President recalled that the UN was established nearly 75 years ago to maintain and strengthen international peace and security.
“But what should we do when the very fundamentals of international security are endangered? Since each war today – in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Yemen, or anywhere else in the world, no matter the number of casualties – is the biggest threat to the civilization as a whole. That’s because in 2019, human beings, homo sapiens, still prefer to solve conflicts by murdering their own kind.”