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Russia To Preside Over UNSC For A Month, Ukraine Opposes Move

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Despite Ukraine pleading with other council members to oppose the decision, Russia has assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council.

On a rotating basis, each of the 15 council members holds the chair for one month.

In February 2022, when Russia last held the presidency, it started a full-scale assault on Ukraine. It denotes that a nation whose president is wanted internationally for alleged war crimes is in charge of the Security Council. The arrest order for Vladimir Putin was issued last month by the International Criminal Court, a non-UN body.

Despite Ukraine’s complaints, the US claimed it was powerless to prevent Russia, a regular council member, from taking the helm.

Apart from Russia, the United Kingdom, United States, France, and China are the council’s permanent members.

Vasily Nebenzia, Moscow’s envoy to the UN, told the Russian Tass news agency that he intended to preside over several debates, including one on arms control. The position is primarily procedural. He promised to talk about the “new world order” that would “replace the unipolar one.”

The Russian presidency has been dubbed “the worst April Fool’s joke ever” and a “stark reminder that something is wrong with the way international security architecture is functioning,” according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Criticism to Russia’s presidency

Mykhaylo Podolyak, presidential advisor for Ukraine, criticised the decision as “another rape of international law… an entity that wages an aggressive war, violates standards of humanitarian and criminal law, tramples on the UN Charter, disregards nuclear safety, and can’t lead the world’s foremost security organisation.”

Last year, President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded that the Security Council be reformed or “dissolved entirely,” charging it of not doing enough to stop Russia’s invasion. He has also demanded that Russia lose its membership.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, said this week at a news conference that “Unfortunately, Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and there exists no practical international legal pathway to change that reality.”

Russia has the power to veto proposals because it is a permanent member of the Security Council.

Russia vetoed a resolution meant to put an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of last year. China, India and the United Arab Emirates all abstained. It rejected a motion in September that demanded that its illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions be undone. India, China, Gabon, and Brazil did not vote.

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