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Zelenskiy Says 'Russian Aggression' Holds Back Ukraine's Nation Building

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a luncheon during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 24.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has blamed the Kremlin as being one of the two main factors that keep the country from realizing its full developmental potential.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 24, Zelenskiy said "Russian aggression against Ukraine" was a barrier that prevents Ukraine from achieving "sustainable development goals" and that Kyiv can't overcome it "without international support."

A tradition of political "resistance" to much-needed reforms was the other obstacle mentioned.

Zelenskiy, speaking at the Leaders Dialogue at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development Goals at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, expressed hope that diplomatic channels in tandem with "international partners" can help Ukraine regain territories it has lost to Russia and achieve peace.

"No state can achieve sustainable development without peace and a sense of security," Zelenskiy said. "Sustainable development is impossible under the sounds of gunshots and explosions, it is impossible where aggressive geopolitical strategies applauding the invasion of other states and violation of human rights and freedoms prevail."

Moscow seized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and has backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people and displaced almost 2 million.

Russia denies being a party to the war in Ukraine's easternmost regions of Luhansk and Donetsk and has portrayed the conflict as a civil war.

Zelenskiy will address the UN General Assembly on September 25 and is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the General Assembly at 2:15 p.m. local time in New York.

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