‘A bad joke’: Ukraine cries foul as Russia takes the reins of the UN Security Council

Vasily Nebenzya, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United Nations provides a speech throughout a UN Safety Council assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on April 5, 2018.

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Russia assumed the presidency of the United Nations Safety Council over the weekend, whilst its invasion of Ukraine escalates.

Russia is likely one of the 5 everlasting members of the U.N. Safety Council and subsequently holds veto authority on any measure proposed earlier than the worldwide discussion board.

The presidency rotates every month amongst 15 members, with the opposite everlasting members being China, France, the U.Okay. and the U.S. together with 10 non-permanent members elected to two-year phrases by the U.N. Common Meeting.

The scheduled presidency change comes on the heels of the Worldwide Prison Court docket’s choice to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged struggle crimes dedicated throughout his invasion of Ukraine. The warrant is the primary time the ICC, a physique of the United Nations, has taken such a measure in opposition to a frontrunner whose nation is a everlasting member of the Safety Council. 

‘You can not think about a worse joke’

Final week, Ukraine’s prime diplomat panned Russia’s upcoming chairmanship of the United Nations Safety Council and referred to as the state of affairs “a nasty joke.”

“Frankly talking, you can’t think about a worse joke for April Fools’ Day. The nation that systematically violated all elementary guidelines of worldwide safety is presiding over a physique whose solely mission is to guard worldwide safety,” Ukrainian International Minister Dmytro Kuleba advised a Chatham Home occasion through video hyperlink from Kyiv.

“I do not suppose Russia will have the ability to change the stability contained in the Safety Council throughout its presidency. It’ll attempt to abuse its rights of the presidency to push for its personal narratives, however I doubt they may have the ability to safe the ample variety of votes to make the council undertake selections on issues associated particularly to Ukraine.”

The final time Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., Vasily Nebenzya, presided over the physique tasked with the “upkeep of worldwide peace and safety” was February 2022, the month Moscow invaded Ukraine. When Russia launched its full-scale invasion final yr, Russia vetoed a decision aimed toward halting the struggle, whereas China, India and the UAE abstained.

The presidency is not going to end result within the passage of any pro-Russian affirmations and the function is essentially seen as procedural, however Moscow will have the ability to set the agenda for debates over the following month.

What’s extra, Nebenzya is predicted to make use of the discussion board to advance pro-Russian narratives.

Nevertheless, the presidency being held by a rustic whose president is at the moment topic to an arrest warrant by the ICC has raised severe questions on its function.

“Russia’s presidency of the U.N. Safety Council is essentially symbolic however it’s deeply offensive,” Daniel Runde, a senior vice chairman on the Washington-based suppose tank Heart for Strategic and Worldwide Research, advised CNBC.

“A everlasting member of the Safety Council has invaded one other sovereign nation, is committing struggle crimes and annexing territory is ironic,” Runde added.

A ‘systemic blow’

Representatives vote throughout a UN Safety Council assembly on the UN headquarters in New York, on Feb. 15, 2023. The UN Safety Council adopted a decision on Wednesday to resume Yemen sanctions measures of asset freeze and journey ban till Nov. 15, 2023.

Eskinder Debebe | Xinhua Information Company | Getty Pictures

Ukrainian officers and a lot of worldwide observers and Members of the European Parliament have referred to as for Russia to be faraway from its membership, and in latest weeks referred to as on Western everlasting members to veto the presidency.

Nevertheless, the U.S. claimed it was certain by the U.N. constitution, which doesn’t allow the expulsion of a everlasting member.

“Sadly, Russia is a everlasting member of the Safety Council and no possible worldwide authorized pathway exists to alter that actuality,” White Home Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre advised a briefing in Washington final week.

President Joe Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations advised reporters on Monday that the U.S. expects Russia to “carry their presidency in an expert manner.”

“We additionally anticipate that they may use their seat to unfold disinformation and to advertise their very own agenda because it pertains to Ukraine and we’ll stand able to name them out at each single second that they try to try this,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated.

Final yr, Thomas-Greenfield led efforts to strip Russia of its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council. On the time, she stated that Russia’s membership on the council hurts its credibility, “undermines all the U.N. and it’s simply plain improper.”

New US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks after assembly with UN Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres on the United Nations on February 25, 2021 in New York Metropolis.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Pictures

Forward of the vote, studies emerged that Russian troops tortured and killed Ukrainian civilians in Bucha, a suburb close to Kyiv.

The our bodies have been found after Moscow withdrew its troops following a surprising Ukrainian offensive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the aftermath, which he noticed firsthand, as a “genocide” and accused Russia of war crimes. The Kremlin has beforehand described its army actions in Ukraine as a “particular operation” and has denied concentrating on civilians.

The decision to strip Russia of its seat on the Human Rights Council passed with 93 votes in favor, 24 in opposition to and 58 abstentions. Belarus, China, Iran, Russia and Syria have been among the many U.N. members that voted in opposition to the decision. India abstained from voting.

In the meantime, Nebenzya advised Russia’s TASS information company just lately that he intends to supervise a number of debates, together with a dialogue of a “new world order” that he claimed will “exchange the unipolar one,” a frequent reference amongst Russia and its allies to the toppling of long-established U.S. hegemony.

“This presidency is a stark reminder that one thing is improper with the best way worldwide safety is functioning if a rustic which has illegitimately acquired the seat of a everlasting member of the UN Safety Council is presiding over a physique whereas conducting a big scale act of aggression in opposition to one other sovereign member and one other founding member of the United Nations,” Kuleba stated.

“The most effective we are able to do is to take these months to really spotlight the issues that exist in multilateralism and the issues that Russia is exploiting for its personal profit.”

His outrage was echoed on Saturday by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who stated of Russia’s ascent to the chair that “it’s onerous to think about one thing extra evident that proves the entire chapter of such establishments.”

Zelenskyy’s Chief of Workers Andriy Yermak wrote on Twitter over the weekend that the state of affairs was “one other symbolic blow to the rules-based system of worldwide relations.”

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