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U.N. showdown looms as Ukraine calls for Russia to be stripped of veto rights

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Ukraine demanded the United Nations punish Russia for its invasion and strip it of its security council veto as a showdown loomed on Thursday when the U.N. Security Council meets over atrocities committed in Ukraine, according to Reuters.

The Security Council meeting comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight in Ukraine, moved to annex swaths of Ukrainian territory and threatened to use nuclear weapons.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment,” President Volodymyr Zelensky told world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.

Zelensky called for a special United Nations tribunal to impose “just punishment” on Russia and for Moscow to be stripped of its Security Council veto.

The council has been unable to take any meaningful action on Ukraine because Russia is a permanent veto-wielding member along with the United States, France, Britain and China. The meeting on Thursday will be at least the 20th time the Security Council has met on Ukraine this year.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will face off his Ukrainian and Western counterparts, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, when U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan brief the 15-member Security Council.

Ukraine, the United States and others have accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine. Russia denies targeting civilians during what it calls its “special military operation,” describing accusations of human rights abuses as a smear campaign.

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Wednesday to prepare new sanctions on Russia and increase weapons’ deliveries to Kyiv.

“It’s clear that Putin is trying to destroy Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after ministers met to decide how to respond.

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies confirmed in a meeting in New York on Wednesday their cooperation in extending support for Ukraine, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said.