If justice, including historical justice, is not restored, as early as April 1, the aggressor country Russia may begin to chair the United Nations Security Council. Ukraine is trying to prevent this.
Only members of the Council, but not Secretary General António Guterres, can prevent Russian representative Vasily Nebenzya from chairing the Security Council, Serhiy Kyslytsya, permanent representative of Ukraine to the UN, recently said.
“On the night of the Russian invasion, António Guterres called it “the saddest day of his tenure.” It will be the saddest day in the history of the UN until April 1, 2023, when, if justice does not prevail, the Russian Federation will assume the chairmanship of the Security Council. Stop violating justice and oppress the UN Charter!” Kislitsa stressed.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is also convinced that the UN Security Council will be better off without Russia.
“In December 1991, Russia illegally usurped the Soviet Union’s seat on the UN Security Council. No legal procedures under the UN Charter were followed,” he tweeted.
On December 26, Ukraine officially raised the issue of Russia’s expulsion from the Security Council.
“Ukraine calls on UN member states to restore the application of the UN Charter in the issue of the legitimacy of the Russian Federation’s stay in the UN, deprive the Russian Federation of the status of a permanent member of the UN Security Council and exclude it from the UN as a whole,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry recalled that the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 left unresolved the issue of international rights and obligations of the USSR. From the point of view of international law, the issue of the status of a UN member state and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which the Russian Federation enjoys, remains unresolved.
The statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes: Russia mistakenly considers the issue settled, referring to the fact that already from December 24, 1991, and in the public plane – from December 31, 1991, a sign with its name appeared in the UN Security Council.
“In fact, according to the UN Charter, there were still no legitimate grounds for this. The Russian Federation took the seat of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, bypassing the procedures defined by the UN Charter. This happened on the basis of a regular letter from the President of the RSFSR Boris Yeltsin addressed to the Secretary General UN,” the Foreign Ministry is convinced.
However, the legitimate procedure for the state of the Russian Federation to acquire membership in the UN and a place among the permanent members of the Security Council must necessarily provide for the steps determined by the UN Charter. Therefore, guided by the principle of equality of UN members, the Russian Federation must go through the same international legal path of gaining membership in the Organization as other countries.
“At the same time, the return of the Russian Federation to the UN in the future can be considered only if it meets the criteria for UN membership,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
Said A, Say B
So how can we solve the unfair situation with the presence of the Russian Federation in the Security Council, not to mention its chairmanship – at a time when this state has occupied part of the territory of Ukraine and is killing its citizens every day, deliberately and brazenly disregarding the UN Charter?
Diplomats see several options for action, one of them is radical.
“If we proceed from the fact that this structure (UN – ed.) can hardly be re-established, restarted, then only one thing remains – it must be dissolved, and new structures must be created on its remnants, which will unite only countries that support and defending the same values,” ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko said in a comment to Details on February 26.
According to the UN Charter, the Security Council has 15 members, including five permanent ones, these are the winners of the Second World War – Great Britain, China, the USA, France and Russia (as the illegal successor of the USSR). The members of the Security Council Presidium now are, in particular, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Russia, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Great Britain, France, China, the USA, Brazil, Ecuador – Ukraine should rely on their attitude to this problem. Nine votes, including the consent of all permanent members, are required to make a decision that is binding on all participants in the vote.
However, according to Märt Volmer, Vice-Chancellor of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, most states do not share Ukraine’s approach to the issue of Russia’s membership in the UN Security Council. Indeed, in order to amend the Charter, the consent of five permanent members is needed, which Russia and China will not give.
Therefore, in the opinion of the vice-chancellor of the Estonian Foreign Ministry, this issue has no prospects so far, and it is better to focus on those aspects of international life in which Russia can really be squeezed and isolated.
At the same time, we have strong support from some countries on this issue. In particular, the speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Lukasz Jasina, said that Ukraine’s initiative to exclude Russia from the UN Security Council is legitimate.
“It should be remembered how Russia, in violation of international law, took this permanent seat on the UN Security Council after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it is worth starting … a debate that Russia is violating international law and is an aggressor by committing war crimes,” Yasina said in a comment Polish radio.
He added that the permanent discussion about the need to reform the UN, about the role of the Security Council and the right of veto of its permanent members has been going on for decades. And its aggravation is relevant right now, because there are still places in the world where Russian propaganda works, some do not believe that the Russian Federation is an aggressor.
At the same time, during the Munich Security Conference 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron proposed to “reformat the world order” and “balance it, making it more inclusive.”
“When we talk about this, we must say that the reform of the UN Security Council is part of this process. Let’s be frank: one permanent member of the Security Council decided to destroy the rules that it should protect. Therefore, we must reform the Security Council and reformat it,” the head said. France. Unfortunately, it is enough without specifying the mechanism of such reformatting.
But it is worth recalling that last summer the UN General Assembly at an emergency special meeting adopted a resolution on the temporary termination of Russia’s powers in the UN Human Rights Council – precisely as a result of the war in Ukraine. 93 countries voted in favor of this decision, 24 voted against, 58 abstained.
Therefore, the presence in the UN Security Council of this aggressor country should be recognized as unacceptable, but there is very little time left for this.
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