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‘Absurd to a new level’ as Russia takes over UN security council | United Nations News

YoIn the Ukraine, Moscow is waging an unprovoked war of aggression. In The Hague, Vladimir Putin faces an arrest warrant for war crimes. But at the UN, Russia is about to take over a powerful international body, the Security Council.

Starting Saturday, it will be Russia’s turn to assume the monthly presidency of the 15-member council, in line with a rotation unaffected by the Ukraine war.

The last time Russia held up the gavel was in February of last year, when Putin declared his “special military operation” in the middle of a council session on Ukraine. Fourteen months later, tens of thousands of people have been killed, many of them civilians, cities have been left in ruins, and Putin has been indicted by the international criminal court for the mass kidnapping of Ukrainian children.

In such circumstances, putting Russia in the driver’s seat of a world body tasked with “maintaining international peace and security” seems like a cruel joke to many, especially Ukraine’s mission to the UN.

“From April 1, they are taking the level of absurdity to a new level,” said Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s permanent representative. “The security council, as it is designed, is immobilized and unable to address the issues of its main responsibility, that is, preventing conflicts and then dealing with conflicts.”

The ambassador said Ukraine would stay away from the security council in April, except in the case of an “issue of critical national security interest.” Ukraine is not a current member of the council, although it is often called upon to speak on war-related issues.

The US, Britain, France and their supporters on the council are likely to disapprove of reducing the level of their representation at Russian-hosted events later this month, but no member state is known to be planning any kind of boycott. or other protest.

The United States on Thursday urged Russia to “behave professionally” when it takes office, but said there was no way to block Moscow from the post. The Kremlin said on Friday that Russia plans to exercise all its rights in the council.

Russia taking over UN security council ‘worst joke ever’, Ukraine minister says: video

Diplomats at UN headquarters in New York say the bulk of the council’s agenda in April, like any month, is taken up with routine briefings and briefings on UN peacekeeping missions around the world. world.

“It is important to protect the rest of the council’s work in other archives,” said a European diplomat. “We don’t want to disrupt the work that the council is doing elsewhere, because that would allow Russia’s invasion to have an even bigger impact on peace and security issues around the world.”

The council chair gives the monthly holder the power to host his own sessions, and Russia is planning three. On April 10, he will hold a briefing on the “risks arising from violations of the agreements that regulate the export of arms and military material”, in which it is expected to single out the US for its supply of arms to Ukraine and other allies in recent years.

At the end of the month, he will chair two open debates on “effective multilateralism” and on the situation in the Middle East, which his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is expected to chair.

The last time a permanent council member carried out an unprovoked invasion was the US attack on Iraq. The United States was not subjected to the humiliation of repeated and overwhelming defeats in the UN general assembly of the kind Russia has suffered over the past year, with some 140 of 193 member states voting against Moscow’s positions, leaving Belarus, Eritrea, Syria and North Korea as Russia’s only reliable friends.

Russia’s deputy permanent representative, Dmitry Polyanskiy, denied that his mission was becoming a pariah at the UN. “Absolutely not. We feel like the West is under siege at the UN right now because more countries understand our position,” Polyanskiy said, saying Western allies had to water down resolutions and twist their arms to get 140 votes. “So I think it is more that the west is isolated, but not us in the general assembly ”.

As for the ICC warrant for Putin’s arrest, Polyanskiy dismissed it as “totally irrelevant to any of our activities.” The last time the Russian leader traveled to the UN headquarters was in 2015.

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In the security council, the balance of diplomatic forces is less defined than in the general assembly. The split of five permanent members (US, UK, France, Russia, China) has hardened considerably, with China regularly echoing Russian talking points in the council. The 10 non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms by the general assembly. Among the current batch, Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates and Gabon have generally remained neutral on the invasion of Ukraine.

Brazil is moving towards the neutral column. Polyanskiy said that the “Brics” group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was approaching and stated that there were 20 other countries interested in joining.

Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group, said that under the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil was “making an effort to engage with Russia and position itself as a potential peacemaker over Ukraine.”

“I don’t think Russia has many close allies on the council, but many council members really want to avoid getting caught up in high-power games,” Gowan said. “There is a definite feeling that many council members want to shift attention to crises other than Ukraine, where the UN can do marginally more good.”

There are no security council sessions on Ukraine planned for April, but nine members can vote to force it on the agenda, or members can hold informal sessions on the issue.

The council’s blatant deadlock and paralysis over Ukraine has served to elevate the importance of the general assembly, but few expect it will bring about the long-awaited overhaul of the council’s functioning, established by the victors of World War II.

Most likely, Kyslytsya acknowledged, “everyone will get used to this new level of global hypocrisy.”

“That will be a shame,” he added. “But I think there’s a very good chance of that happening.”



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