Ukraine: The Latest - Live from the UN General Assembly as Zelensky makes his case to world leaders

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky arrives in the hall for the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at U.N. headquarters on September 19, 2023 in New York City. World heads of state and representatives of government will attend amidst multiple global crises such as Russia's illegal war against Ukraine, and the climate emergency. (Photo by Adam Gray/Getty Images)
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky arrives in the hall for the 78th session of the United Nations - Adam Gray/Getty Images North America

Today on Ukraine: The Latest, we are live at the UN General Assembly in New York, bring you updates from the battlefront, discuss the use of decoys by Ukrainian forces & we interview Karolina Hird from the Institute for the Study of War.

Francis Dearnley talks to us about the mood at the United Nations General Assembly in New York:

This is President Zelensky’s first in-person visit since the invasion began here at the UN. He’s expected to try to galvanize support for the country and promote Ukraine’s food security. Of course, the UN was a key broker in the grain deal.

He’s also going to take part in various Security Council meetings and hold bilateral talks with other leaders, including the President of the United States. He’s here with Dmitry Kuleba, the foreign minister who said that Ukraine is now at a critical juncture, continuing to advance on the battlefield.

I think that the main priority here is keeping Ukraine in the headlines. 

On UN reform, Francis mulls the feeling at the UN:

I do get the sense that around the UN there is more of a criticism about how it has conducted itself in recent years. This feeling that the recent events in Ukraine, and perhaps even in Azerbaijan too, show that there is a failure of robustness on certain issues, which is allowing countries to, in essence, behave outside of the UN mandate.

Now, of course, that’s not anything necessarily new. Countries don’t always have to obey the UN, as we’ve seen many times, even with Western countries in recent years. But nevertheless, there is, I think, a sense that particularly when you have an imperialist war, which was launched by Russia, that it should not really have been enabled and facilitated in the way that it has.

But it’s not just the UN that has changed. Joe Barnes explains how the EU has evolved during the full-scale invasion:

It’s fascinating in so many ways how the European Union has changed.

The likes of Poland were essentially seen as like a bogeyman of EU politics before the full scale invasion, and now it’s become one of the biggest power brokers in The EU. When the EU discusses sanctions, you’ll have various different countries, some are harder, some are softer. Poland has been one of the full-blown, ‘get every sanction under the sun on Russia as we can, we don’t care about whether we’re starved of Russian fossil fuels, oil, gas, coal, let’s go full hog,’ and it seems like Poland can take on the likes of Germany, the likes of France, likes of Italy, the natural power base of the EU.

The war in Ukraine has also split up traditional power blocks. So Poland and Hungary once used to be the bestest of friends, but now, because their leaders don’t agree on Ukraine, they’re not so friendly. 

Also I think the war in Ukraine has created space for the EU to actually become this geopolitical machine, where it looks at politics outside of the EU and has an ability to develop and influence them. The idea of the EU having its own foreign policy for years was kind of laughed at, but we’ve seen actually the likes of the EU developing its fund to make sure that its member states are reimbursed for weapons donations to Ukraine.

The EU now is the single biggest donor to Ukraine since the beginning of the war. It’s not just on weapons, but includes these macroeconomic donations to essentially allow the Ukrainian state to carry on; make sure the pensioners can receive their pensions, make sure the hospital staff are paid, and the lights are switched on in public buildings.

Listen to Ukraine: the Latest, The Telegraph’s daily podcast, using the audio player at the top of this article or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app.

War in Ukraine is reshaping our world. Every weekday The Telegraph’s top journalists analyse the invasion from all angles - military, humanitarian, political, economic, historical - and tell you what you need to know to stay updated.

With over 40 million downloads, our Ukraine: The Latest podcast is your go-to source for all the latest analysis, live reaction and correspondents reporting on the ground. We have been broadcasting ever since the full-scale invasion began.

Ukraine: The Latest’s regular contributors are:

David Knowles

David is Head of Audio Development at The Telegraph, where he has worked for nearly three years. He has reported from across Ukraine during the full-scale invasion.

Dominic Nicholls

Dom is Associate Editor (Defence) at The Telegraph, having joined in 2018. He previously served for 23 years in the British Army, in tank and helicopter units. He had operational deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

Francis Dearnley

Francis is assistant comment editor at The Telegraph. Prior to working as a journalist, he was chief of staff to the Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board at the Houses of Parliament in London. He studied History at Cambridge University and on the podcast explores how the past shines a light on the latest diplomatic, political, and strategic developments.

They are also regularly joined by The Telegraph’s foreign correspondents around the world, including Joe Barnes (Brussels), Sophia Yan (China), Nataliya Vasilyeva (Russia), Roland Oliphant (Senior Reporter) and Colin Freeman (Reporter). In London, Venetia Rainey (Weekend Foreign Editor), Katie O’Neill (Assistant Foreign Editor), and Verity Bowman (News Reporter) also frequently appear to offer updates.