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Ukraine condemns Russia’s presidency of the UN Security Council as a “cruel joke”

Ukraine condemns Russia's presidency of the UN Security Council as a "cruel joke"
Mr. Vasliy Nebenzya

has criticized the UN Security Council's decision to let assume its presidency this month, as the country continues its invasion of Ukraine.

According to Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the move is “the world's worst April Fool's joke” since Russia has violated international security laws. He adds that it is ironic for a country that disregards fundamental rules to be in charge of maintaining global peace and security.

The UN Security Council has 15 member nations, and the presidency rotates alphabetically among them.

However, the five permanent members, which include the US and Russia, control the body. Many UN diplomats are sceptical about Russia leading the council while occupying parts of Ukraine, a fellow UN member country. Russia previously presided over the council in February 2022, just before its invasion of Ukraine. A Security Council president is expected to remain neutral.

However, as Russia assumes its new role, it can use its position to manoeuvre meetings on Ukraine and portray the US and other Western countries as making false accusations against Russia. Meanwhile, Putin, the Russian president, became the first head of state of a permanent member of the Security Council to receive an arrest warrant over allegations of deporting Ukrainian children to Russia.

The International Crisis Group's UN head Richard Gowan described Russia's presidency as “grotesque” and embarrassing for the Council. Russia's backers, on the other hand, argue that the current situation has historical parallels, citing the US's invasion of Iraq in 2003 without the Council's approval.

Regardless, the problem is “Russian behaviour in Ukraine,” according to a Security Council diplomat.

Ukraine has questioned whether Russia should have a permanent seat in the council, given Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. However, the UN Charter makes it difficult to remove a permanent member of the Council.

As a result, Russia's veto power can keep its representatives on the council's horseshoe table indefinitely. The US Mission to the UN spokesperson added that “no international legal pathway exists” to remove a permanent member.

Thus, the only recourse available to challenge Russia's actions is to dispute what Russia says at the UN Security Council. The US has vowed to call out Russia's lies and provide credible data and facts on the ground.

As the war drags on, Russia's position at the UN may come under pressure. However, rhetoric remains the major weapon used in UN meetings.

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