Speaking in a video posted on Telegram on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed reports of an internal UN email advising staff not to refer to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “war.”
“You may have seen in the news today the story that the United Nations allegedly does not consider the Russian invasion a war. I know this outraged many, and not only in Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
“I am grateful to our team. We made everything clear and quickly received assurances: there will be no lies in the UN structures. There will be no playing along with the aggressor. The word "war" will be heard on this site. Because that is the truth. We will not allow anyone in the world to ignore the suffering and murder of our people, our children,” he added.
The United Nations in New York, for its part, walked back the email contents in a Tuesday news briefing, with UN spokesperson Stephan Dujarric saying that an unnamed regional office should not have issued a memo warning staff to not use the words “war” or “invasion” to describe what is happening in Ukraine, “because there are no official instructions on what words saying those things.”
The UN spokesperson said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has used the word “war” and so has his top political deputy in a tweet, saying, “This war is senseless.”