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Zelensky set for first in-person Russia showdown of war

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Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky is set to go face to face with Russian officials for the first time since his country was invaded, as the UN Security Council meets Wednesday for a potentially dramatic session.

Zelensky flew to New York for the annual UN General Assembly, where he delivered a speech Tuesday in his trademark military fatigues urging the world to stand firm against Russia.

On Wednesday, he will address a special session on the war at the powerful Security Council, where Russia is a permanent member wielding veto power against any decisions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in New York late Tuesday, with official media saying he flew a circuitous route to avoid European airspace.

The potential showdown “could create one of those iconic UN moments,” said Marti Flacks, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Two other permanent members, the United States and France, will be represented by their own top diplomats — Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

Albania, a strong supporter of Ukraine, is the current president of the Security Council and has agreed to speaking spots for a massive 60 representatives, according to an agenda seen by AFP.

It will be the most direct diplomatic encounter between Russia and Ukraine since Moscow invaded in February 2022.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who rarely travels to the United Nations, did not come this year.

He has skipped other high-profile diplomatic gatherings as Western nations seek to isolate him and as he faces an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.

It will be the most direct diplomatic encounter between Russia and Ukraine since Moscow invaded in February 2022.

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