Joly tells UN assembly Putin is losing grip on reality, a year after Ukraine invasion

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Russian President Vladimir Putin is losing his grip on reality, a year after his invasion of Ukraine.

Canada is pushing the United Nations General Assembly to vote to condemn Russia's invasion and call on Moscow to end the war.

Joly says Russia isn't respecting the UN charter, and merits extra scrutiny as a permanent member of on the UN Security Council.

Canada is among 38 countries that have put forward a resolution calling for peace and for Russia to be held accountable for the "dire human rights and humanitarian consequences" of the ongoing war.

Joly argues this is necessary to end the mounting suffering in nations across the world, as the cost of living rises and people seek refuge as a result of the war.

She is also condemning Putin's national address Tuesday, in which he announced he was ending some of Russia's co-operation with the United States on nuclear safety and argued Ukraine's democratically elected government is actually an illegitimate neo-Nazi regime.

Drafted remarks prepared for Joly's appearance at the assembly on Wednesday say Putin's comments were "recycled absurdities" and he was "reckless" to leave the nuclear treaty.

"President Putin is entirely responsible for this war, and his latest address proves that he remains unmoored from this reality," Joly's remarks read.

She is set to address the assembly in New York City by 5 p.m. local time.

Her speech comes at a time when developing countries have lamented feeling forced to choose sides between Russia's invasion and the West's opposition to it.

At last weekend's Munich Security Conference, countries like Colombia argued that the conflict is diverting funding and attention away from the climate crisis, while others said the focus should be on ending the violence.

Joly is expected to tell her peers that the vote isn't about choosing sides in a broader geopolitical turf war.

"It is about choosing peace — a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine," her drafted remarks say.

"It is about choosing rules over chaos and clearly stating that no one, today and in the future, can disregard the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity."

At another event earlier Wednesday held by UN states that support Ukraine, Joly said Ottawa is preparing to tackle psychological and infrastructure needs in that country when the conflict ends.

"There's no option but victory for Ukraine. Canada will be there to support Ukraine's fight for freedom, for as long as it takes," she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press