Not a joke: Russia assumes UN Security Council presidency

April 1,2023 454
Not a joke: Russia assumes UN Security Council presidency

Russia will run the U.N. Security Council from April 1 to the end of the month. “Ukraine says it’s the worst April Fools’ joke,” according to CNN.

“A country led by an accused war criminal is now in charge of the United Nations Security Council. Hard as it is to believe, it’s Russia’s turn to assume presidency of the powerful body – which is charged with maintaining global peace and security,” the CNN story reads.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Russia assuming the council presidency on April 1 “the world’s worst April Fool’s joke” and a “stark reminder that something is wrong with the way international security architecture is functioning.”

“A state that systemically ruins international peace and security will be presiding over the body tasked with maintaining them,” he twitted on Friday.

The same day, Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak twitted, “RF’s presidency of the U.N. Security Council since April 1 is another rape of international law. An entity that wages an aggressive war, violates the norms of humanitarian & criminal law, destroys the U.N. Charter, neglects nuclear safety can’t head the world’s key security body.”

Last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the Security Council to reform or “dissolve altogether,” accusing it of failing to take enough action to prevent Russia’s invasion, according to BBC.

Noteworthy, on Feb. 22, 2022 – just two days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine! – the Ukrainian World Congress and its member organizations jointly addressed foreign ministers and permanent representatives of all U.N. member states, calling to suspend Russia’s privileges as a member of the UNSC on the grounds of gross violation of Article 2 of the U.N. Charter. The UWC has repeatedly been making similar calls since then.

Also noteworthy is that it was Russia’s turn to preside over the council that month in 2022.

The U.N. Security Council comprises representatives of 15 nations, including five permanent and ten non-permanent UNSC members. The permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – enjoy the power of veto over the council’s decisions.

To pass a Security Council vote, there must be nine votes in favor, with none of the five permanent members voting against.

The presidency of the Security Council rotates alphabetically among its 15 member nations.

Russia has been abusing its power of veto, to say the least. According to BBC, it vetoed a resolution that intended to end its invasion of Ukraine in February last year and a resolution calling for reversing its illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine in September.

Ukraine has questioned whether Russia has a right to its permanent seat at the council at all, pointing out that Moscow received the chair of the former Soviet Union without any vote in the early 1990s after the “Evil Empire” collapsed.

However, the U.N. Charter does not make it easy to eliminate a permanent member of the Council. So a Russian veto can easily keep its representatives at the council’s horseshoe table forever, according to CNN.

Nevertheless, Ukrainians are inspired by Taras Shevchenko’s words, “Keep fighting – you are sure to win!” And we will – to have Russia eventually kicked out of the Security Council. And who knows, maybe out of the United Nations as well?

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