Ukrainian President Zelensky says Putin should stand trial for war crimes before going ‘to hell’


Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Vladimir Putin should ‘go to hell’ but first face a fair trial for alleged war crimes during the brutal Ukraine invasion.

The President said the Russian premier should face a court for the horrors his men have undertaken as they battered their way across the country.

Speaking to ABC’s David Muir after a visit to Bucha, Zelensky also admitted there are still forces trying to assassinate him.

It comes as fighting continued to rip across Ukraine, with gunfights and shelling an everyday factor in the Eastern Europe nation.

Early Monday Europe’s largest nuclear plant was knocked off Ukraine’s electricity grid after its last transmission line was disconnected due to Russian shelling.

ABC’s David Muir interviews Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following a visit to the mass grave at Bucha

A Ukrainian soldier takes a selfie as an artillery system fires in the front line in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022

A Ukrainian soldier takes a selfie as an artillery system fires in the front line in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022

Zelensky told ABC’s David Muir before Putin ‘go(es) to hell’ he should stand for a ‘fair’ and ‘independent’ trial for the crimes he has committed against Ukraine. 

In an interview with the foreign leader, Muir, following a trip to the mass grave at Bucha, asks Zelensky what ‘justice’ would look like for those who are responsible for the travesty.

‘You didn’t hide your anger, your disgust while you were there,’ said the ABC host.

‘As any civilized person, civilized man, I think that those responsible should not just go to hell, no, they should have fair trials,’ said the leader of the nation that remains under siege at the hands of Russian forces.

When asked what intel he had been given about Russia’s desire to assassinate him, Zelensky told Muir that the intelligence has not much shifted since several months ago.

‘Your life is still clearly in danger,’ said Muir. ‘What is your intelligence telling you? Does Russia want you dead?’

‘The information is as it used to be,’ Zelensky matter-of-factly replied to Muir.

Zelensky says that Putin, who he believes is a war criminal, should stand for a 'fair' and 'independent trial' before going 'to hell' for the war he has waged against the Ukrainian people

Zelensky says that Putin, who he believes is a war criminal, should stand for a ‘fair’ and ‘independent trial’ before going ‘to hell’ for the war he has waged against the Ukrainian people

A Ukrainian soldier fires on the front line in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Sat. Sept. 3, 2022

A Ukrainian soldier fires on the front line in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Sat. Sept. 3, 2022

Though there are a number of sometimes changing groups that are actively attempting to end his life, the ‘aim,’ he said, is the same.

At a different moment in the interview with the ABC ‘World News Tonight’ anchor, Zelensky says that the Russian military has been using the incredibly large Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant as a weapon. 

‘You see, they occupied our nuclear station, six blocks. The biggest in Europe. It means six Chernobyls; it means the biggest danger in Europe.

‘So, they occupied it. So that is– means that they use nuclear weapon. That is [a] nuclear weapon,’ said Zelensky.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it was informed Monday by Ukrainian authorities that the reserve line ‘was deliberately disconnected in order to extinguish a fire.’

‘The line itself is not damaged, and it will be reconnected once the fire is extinguished,’ the IAEA said.

In the meantime, the plant´s only remaining operational reactor would ‘generate the power the plant needs for its safety and other functions,’ the agency said.

The incident fueled fears of a potential nuclear disaster at Zaporizhzhia, which is one of the 10 biggest nuclear plants in the world. Experts say its reactors are designed to protect against natural disasters and incidents such as aircraft crashes, but leaders around the world have appealed for it to be spared in the fighting because of the huge risk of a catastrophe.

Plant operator Energoatom said in a statement that Russian forces have kept up ‘intensive shelling’ of the area around Zaporizhzhia in recent days despite the warnings.

The IAEA, which still has two experts at the plant after a perilous inspection last week that required six inspectors to travel through the fighting, said last Saturday that the plant had lost its last main line to the grid, but was still sending power to the grid through a reserve line.

The developments at Zaporizhzhia came on the eve of a report to the U.N. Security Council by the IAEA inspectors about what they found on their visit.

Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations about endangering the plant, which the Kremlin´s forces have held since early March. The plant´s Ukrainian staff continue to operate it.

Henadii Sydorenko carries a piece of plywood to cover the windows of apartments that have been damaged after a Russian attack yesterday near a residential area in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Monday

Henadii Sydorenko carries a piece of plywood to cover the windows of apartments that have been damaged after a Russian attack yesterday near a residential area in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Monday

The Russian military had earlier Monday accused Ukrainian forces of staging ‘provocations’ at the plant, which lies within a Russian-installed administrative area.

Russia´s Defense Ministry claimed that Kyiv´s forces on Sunday targeted the territory of the plant with a drone, which it said Russian troops were able to shoot down.

The ministry said Ukrainian troops also shelled the adjacent city of Enerhodar twice overnight.

Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Facebook on Monday that fighting around the power station made it impossible to repair damaged power lines, putting the world ‘once again on the brink of a nuclear disaster.’

Ukraine´s presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, applauded the IAEA´s decision to leave some experts at the plant.

‘There are Russian troops now who don´t understand what´s happening, don´t assess the risks correctly,’ Podolyak said.

‘There is a number of our workers there, who need some kind of protection, people from the international community standing by their side and telling (Russian troops): `Don´t touch these people, let them work,´’ he added.

Meanwhile, a senior Kremlin official blamed Western sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine for stoppages in Moscow´s supply of natural gas to Europe.

People walk past a crater from an explosion that hit an area near the Ukrainian Red Cross Society during a Russian attack yesterday in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022

People walk past a crater from an explosion that hit an area near the Ukrainian Red Cross Society during a Russian attack yesterday in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022

In some of the bluntest comments yet on the standoff between Moscow and Western Europe over energy supplies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said problems with pumping the gas occurred ‘because of the sanctions.’

‘Other reasons that would cause problems with the pumping don´t exist,’ Peskov claimed.

The sanctions on Moscow and Russian companies have created problems with equipment maintenance, he said, though that claim has been refuted by Western governments and engineers.

Russian energy company Gazprom announced Friday that a suspension of gas supplies heading westwards through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would be extended indefinitely because oil leaks in turbines need fixing.

That move brought a surge in European natural gas prices and walloped global stock markets.

High energy prices and possible shortages this winter in Western Europe have set alarm bells ringing among governments, notably those in the European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday called for a 10% cut in his country´s energy use in coming weeks and months to avoid the risk of rationing and cuts this winter.

Peskov laid the blame for the disruption firmly at the door of the sanctions, which he claimed have prevented machinery from working properly, even though experts say that isn´t true.

German officials have rejected those explanations, saying they are merely a political power play. Germany´s Siemens Energy, which manufactured turbines the Nord Stream 1 pipeline uses, said turbine leaks can be fixed while gas continues to flow through the pipeline.

Elsewhere, the fighting raged on for a seventh month, with Ukraine´s presidential office saying Monday at least four civilians were killed and seven others were wounded by new Russian shelling across several regions of Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers fire, on the front line in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Sat. Sept. 3, 2022

Ukrainian soldiers fire, on the front line in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Sat. Sept. 3, 2022

In the eastern city of Sloviansk, personnel at the Ukrainian Red Cross Society swept up debris Monday from a second rocket attack on its premises in a week.

Nobody was hurt in either attack, said Taras Logginov, head of the agency´s rapid response unit. He blamed Russia forces and accused them of war crimes for the attacks.

In a row of apartment buildings across the road, the few residents who haven’t evacuated sawed sheets of plywood to board up their shattered windows.

Henadii Sydorenko sat on the porch of his apartment building for a break. He said he´s not sure whether to stay or leave, torn between his responsibility of taking care of three apartments whose owners have already evacuated and the increasing fear because of the now frequent shelling of Sloviansk.

‘It´s frightening,’ the 57-year-old said of the shelling. ‘I´m losing my mind, little by little.’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv´s forces had liberated three settlements – two in the south and one in the east, in the Donetsk region. He didn´t provide names of the settlements in his comments on Sunday night.

Amid increased Ukrainian strikes on the occupied Kherson region, Russian-installed authorities there said early Monday that for security reasons they were putting on hold their plans for a local referendum on whether the region should formally become part of Russia.

But by the afternoon, officials had a change of heart and said the ballot would go ahead as planned, though no date has been set.

Putin’s legs twitch in public for second time in a week as he sits awkwardly during rambling speech about how ‘you have to live for something to die for’

Vladimir Putin’s shaky legs have made another appearance as he appeared ill at ease while giving a rambling speech in front of young Russians today.

The leader, 69, has been at the centre of multiple health rumours in recent months and has regularly appeared twitching and unsteady while in public.

Today, he flew across nine time zones towards Kamchatka, a glaciers-and-volcanoes peninsula in the Pacific, in the east of Russia.

He repeatedly tapped both of his feet on the floor and held on to his armrest for support as he told the children: ‘You have to live for something to die for.’

It comes just days after a similar appearance where he spoke to schoolchildren while twitching his legs manically and firmly gripping an armrest.

Vladimir Putin's shaky legs have made another appearance as he appeared ill at ease while giving a rambling speech in front of young Russians today

Vladimir Putin’s shaky legs have made another appearance as he appeared ill at ease while giving a rambling speech in front of young Russians today

While lecturing the youngsters, he repeatedly tapped both of his feet on the floor and held on to his armrest for support

While lecturing the youngsters, he repeatedly tapped both of his feet on the floor and held on to his armrest for support

Putin meets with volunteer ornithologists of the "Kamchatka" falcon centre in the far eastern city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskyi

Putin meets with volunteer ornithologists of the ‘Kamchatka’ falcon centre in the far eastern city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskyi

What’s wrong with Putin?

Rumours have been circling for years that Vladimir Putin is suffering from health problems, and they have intensified since he launched his brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Critics and Kremlin sources have indicated he may be suffering from cancer of Parkinson’s, supported by footage showing the leader shaking uncontrollably and gripping a table for support.

He has also disappeared from the public eye for weeks at a time, with suggestions he is undergoing surgery.

Valery Solovey, professor at Moscow State Institute of Foreign Affairs first hinted at Putin’s health problems, said in 2020 that Putin had undergone surgery for cancer.

Another unnamed source suggested the operation was on Putin’s abdomen. 

He said: ‘One is of a psycho-neurological nature, the other is a cancer problem.

‘If anyone is interested in the exact diagnosis, I’m not a doctor, and I have no ethical right to reveal these problems.

‘The second diagnosis is a lot, lot more dangerous than the first named diagnosis as Parkinson’s does not threaten physical state, but just limits public appearances.

‘Based on this information people will be able to make a conclusion about his life horizon, which wouldn’t even require specialist medical education.’

The Kremlin has consistently denied that there is anything wrong with Putin’s health. 

Others have previously noted his ‘gunslinger’s gait’ – a clearly reduced right arm swing compared to his left, giving him a lilting swagger.

An asymmetrically reduced arm swing is a classic feature of Parkinson’s and can manifest in ‘clinically intact subjects with a predisposition to later develop’ the disease, according to the British Medical Journal.

In February, Putin was seen with a shaking hand as he firmly gripped the side of his chair for support.

The clip, which was taken on February 18, just before the onset of his invasion of Ukraine, shows him welcoming fellow strongman Alexander Lukashenko at the Kremlin.

He pulls his trembling hand into his body in an attempt to quell the shakes, but then he almost stumbles as he unsteadily walks towards Lukashenko.

Later, Putin sits on a chair but is unable to remain still, constantly fidgeting and tapping his feet while he grips onto the arm for support.

In a meeting with defence minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin’s poor posture and his apparently bloated face and neck fuelled the speculation.

Video showed Putin speaking to Shoigu whilst gripping the edge of the table with his right hand – so hard that it appears white – and tapping his foot consistently. 

He has since been seen limping and shaking his hands and legs, further bolstering the rumours.

Questions about Putin’s health have been circulating for some time in Russia with some suggesting he has cancer or Parkinson’s and he has regularly disappeared for days at a time amid claims he is undergoing surgery.

But the rumours have grown stronger since he launched his barbaric invasion of Ukraine, with the leader often appearing to be not in full control of his limbs.

In recent months, he has been seen hobbling off a plane in Iran with a limp arm and twisting his foot in a meeting with Belarus dictator Lukashenko in May.

On Friday, he was seen squirming in his chair and looked ill at ease as he gripped an armrest with one hand before gesticulating with a tightly clenched fist, while the other hand clutched firm to the microphone. 

Such are his health fears, Putin had ordered each of the children to quarantine from Covid for two weeks before the meeting in Kaliningrad.

During today’s speech, he declared that Russia was the true Land of the Rising Sun.

Slouching in his chair, he said croakily: ‘Our neighbour Japan is called the Country of the Rising Sun.

‘But further east from Japan is Kamchatka, or Sakhalin [Russia’s largest island]. Even further east is New Zealand.

‘And further east from New Zealand is Chukotka [a Russian province almost touching Alaska].

‘And then there is only a 60-kilometre-wide strait to America.

‘In this sense the Country of the Rising Sun is Russia.’

He also told the audience in the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky: ‘There is an expression, and whoever told me about it, I promised I would reproduce it out loud in public sometime.

‘You have to live for something to die for.

‘As strange as it may seem in your humanitarian field, this is something worth living for.’

During a rare eastern trip he will also oversee the culmination of the week-long Vostok-2022 military drills with a visit to Russia’s eastern capital Vladivostok.

The warmonger visited volunteer ornithologists from the Kamchatka falconry centre, working to preserve rare species of birds of prey.

The gyrfalcon was seen flying from its trainer to Putin to find foot in his glove, but at first it disobeyed the trainer.

‘It doesn’t want to go,’ said a man next to Putin.

The Kremlin president smiled then said: ‘Likes me!’

The centre aims to organise the reproduction of the rare gyrfalcon in captivity.

In Ukraine today, Russia continues to be pushed back by Kyiv’s forces after launching a counter offensive last week.

After days of declining to give details about their new offensive, Ukrainian officials posted an image online of three soldiers raising a flag over a town in Kherson province, a southern region occupied by Russia since the war’s early days.

The image of the flag being fixed to a pole on a rooftop, purportedly in Vysokopyllya in the north of Kherson, was released as President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Ukrainian forces had captured two towns in the south and one in the east. In an overnight address, he did not identify the locations.

APRIL 21: Putin is seen gripping his desk with his right hand while meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in the early stages of the war. The footage from the meeting raised questions about Putin's health

APRIL 21: Putin is seen gripping his desk with his right hand while meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in the early stages of the war. The footage from the meeting raised questions about Putin’s health

JULY 26: Putin, left, listens to Yuri Borisov, the CEO of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, while he grips his desk with his right hand

JULY 26: Putin, left, listens to Yuri Borisov, the CEO of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, while he grips his desk with his right hand

AUGUST 25: Vladimir Putin is seen gripping the same desk with his right hand during a meeting with Head of the Federal Taxation Service Daniil Yegorov

AUGUST 25: Vladimir Putin is seen gripping the same desk with his right hand during a meeting with Head of the Federal Taxation Service Daniil Yegorov

JULY 19: Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen hobbling from his presidential plane during the welcoming ceremony in Tehran

JULY 19: Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen hobbling from his presidential plane during the welcoming ceremony in Tehran 

Vladimir Putin’s five medically-related disappearances  

November 2012: Business trips and long-distance flights of the president are canceled, some of Putin’s meetings shown by the Kremlin turn out to be ‘canned food’

March 5 – 15, 2015: Putin does not appear in public, all meetings are ‘canned’ – in other words pre-recorded events were shown with the pretense they were in real time

August 9-16, 2017: The President, with journalists, visits Abkhazia and Sochi, and then for a week the Kremlin publishes only ‘canned food’

February 2018: In the midst of an election campaign, the president cancels public events. Peskov admits that the head of state ‘had a cold’

September 13-29, 2021: Putin goes into ‘self-isolation’, all events are held via video link

After months of enduring punishing Russian artillery assaults in the east, Ukraine has at last begun its long-awaited counter-attack, its biggest since it drove Russian forces away from the outskirts of Kyiv in March.

Ukraine had kept most details of its new campaign under wraps, banning journalists from the frontline and offering little public commentary in order to preserve tactical surprise. Russia has said it has repelled assaults in Kherson.

In a rare acknowledgment from the Russian side that the Ukrainian counter-offensive was spoiling Moscow’s plans for territory it has seized, TASS news agency quoted a Moscow-installed official in Kherson as saying plans for a referendum to annex the region to Russia had been put on hold due to the security situation.

Mark Hertling, a retired former commander of U.S. ground forces in Europe, said Kyiv’s aim appeared to be to trap thousands of Russian troops on the east bank of the vast Dnipro River, destroying bridges the Russians now use for supplies and would need to escape.

Russia had left ‘a force in Kherson, with a river at their back & limited supply lines’, and Ukraine was hitting them with ‘precision weapons, confusing a RU force that already has very low morale and poor leadership,’ Hertling tweeted.

Zelensky’s announcement that a town had been captured in the east was also notable, a suggestion Ukraine was taking advantage of pressure in the south to try to reverse some of the gains Russia made elsewhere in recent months.

In his evening address on Sunday, Zelensky tempered his announcements of success with a warning to European countries that they could face a cold winter.

Moscow blames Western sanctions it says have interfered with repairs of equipment for forcing it to halt the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1, its main pipeline to Germany. 

Russia was due to reopen the pipeline on Saturday but has said it will stay shut indefinitely.

On Friday, Putin showed further signs of his allegedly failing health as his legs twitched manically while giving a brainwashing history lesson to Russian children

On Friday, Putin showed further signs of his allegedly failing health as his legs twitched manically while giving a brainwashing history lesson to Russian children 

‘Problems with gas supply arose because of the sanctions imposed on our country by Western states, including Germany and Britain,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

European countries call the gas cut-off blackmail. They say they are finding alternative sources of gas and are already ahead of targets in filling up storage tanks for winter.

Countries led by Germany have rolled out multi-billion euro packages of support for consumers and businesses, which last week helped drive European gas prices back down sharply from record highs.

But the weekend news about Nord Stream’s extended shutdown sent prices soaring once again on Monday, with the main European benchmark up by as much as 35%, bringing fears of a bleak winter for consumers and businesses across the continent.

Germany’s DAX share index was down well over 2%, the Euro sank below 99 U.S. cents for the first time in decades, and the pound was not far off mid-1980s lows against the dollar as Liz Truss was announced as Britain’s next prime minister.

The warmonger visited volunteer ornithologists from the Kamchatka falconry center, working to preserve rare species of birds of prey

The warmonger visited volunteer ornithologists from the Kamchatka falconry center, working to preserve rare species of birds of prey

The gyrfalcon was seen flying from its trainer to Putin to find foot in his glove, but at first it disobeyed the trainer

The gyrfalcon was seen flying from its trainer to Putin to find foot in his glove, but at first it disobeyed the trainer

Speaking shortly beforehand, Kremlin spokesman Peskov was scathing about Truss, saying it was hard to imagine relations getting any worse, but that a worsening could not be ruled out, given what he called anti-Russian rhetoric from Britain.

‘I don’t think that we can hope for anything positive,’ he said.

Peskov also said Moscow planned to retaliate for the latest Western move: a proposed cap on the price of Russian oil exports from December designed to reduce Moscow’s main source of income.

In Russia, which has effectively banned independent media since President Vladimir Putin launched his ‘special military operation’ in February, a judge revoked the license of liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta, one of the last unofficial voices.

The ruling was ‘a political hit job, without the slightest legal basis’, said its editor, Dmitry Muratov, who won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize for the paper’s fight for free speech.

Novaya Gazeta was founded 30 years ago with Nobel Peace Prize money won by the previous Russian laureate – former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who was buried at the weekend. Putin did not attend his funeral, a final symbolic snub of the man who presided over the breakup of the Soviet Union, when Ukraine was the most populous of 14 states to gain independence from Moscow.

With fighting shifting to southern Ukraine, international attention has focused in recent weeks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, captured by Russia but still operated by Ukrainian engineers and hooked to Ukraine’s power grid.

Both sides accuse each other of risking nuclear catastrophe by shelling near the plant. Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said the final working reactor block of the Zaporizhzhia plant disconnected from Ukraine’s grid on Monday after Russian shelling disrupted power lines. There was no immediate comment from the Russian side.

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