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On the day when part of the world celebrates April Fools Day, April Fools' Day, Russia assumes the presidency of the UN Security Council. But it's no joke. While its invasion of Ukraine continues its cruel but slowed course, Russia formally oversees a body designed to maintain international peace and security. It all comes just two weeks after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes.
Ukraine called Russia's presidency of the U.N. Security Council a "joke in bad taste." "Your president is a war criminal wanted for the abduction of children," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said.
A senior Ukrainian official on Saturday criticized the "symbolic coup" of Russia assuming the rotating presidency. "It's not just a shame. It is another symbolic blow to the rules-based system of international relations," said Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president's chief of staff.
Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, along with the United States, China, France and the United Kingdom, meaning it has the coveted veto power in the body. Moscow benefits from being considered heir to the USSR, one of the victorious countries of World War II, which are the ones who hold the key to this world forum.
The presidency of the Security Council rotates among the 15 members. It is not a crucial position, although it is symbolic: it chairs meetings and deals with the main administrative work, with little room to influence decisions. In reality, what is crucial for Russia is to be a permanent member of the Security Council, with veto power over everything that is discussed. But his presidency this month will undoubtedly play to the detriment of the UN's already weakened image.
The Kremlin said Friday it planned to "exercise all its powers" in office. The first meeting to be chaired by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be a "high-level public debate on 'effective multilateralism' through upholding the principles of the UN Charter," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. The end of the 'unipolar world' is one of the obsessions of Russia, which has approached all kinds of dictatorships to stand up to the US. Russia presumes to stand up to the "collective West." Lavrov is scheduled to chair another debate session on the Middle East on April 25.
Accusation against Putin
Russia is also scheduled to hold an informal meeting of the Security Council in early April on what it called the "real situation" of Ukrainian children taken to Russia, which is just the criminal charge against Putin. You can also take the opportunity to introduce speakers who defend the lies that Russian propaganda has spread these months: that Ukraine is a Nazi country, that Kiev threatens Russia or that Russia is not attacking civilians. But it is still easy for other countries to reject these appearances on procedural grounds. With just nine votes they can prevent Russia from playing with meetings. The United States on Thursday urged Russia to "behave professionally."
Ironically, the last time Russia held the Council presidency was in February last year, the month it launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbor Ukraine. The presidency lasts one month, and the timetable is agreed at the beginning of the year. It follows the alphabetical order of the English names of the member countries, regardless of their democratic credentials or their respect for the law. Russia picks up the baton from Mozambique. In May it will deliver it to Switzerland, which in turn will give it to the United Arab Emirates.
IN MINORITY, BUT ARMORED
There are 10 other rotating members, without veto power, who are elected for two-year terms from among UN members. But the presence of permanent members has meant that ambitious decisions cannot be taken without the support of those five countries. Two of them are dictatorships: Russia has launched its troops against Ukraine and China is targeting Taiwan with its own.
Katine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, has denounced that "a country that flagrantly violates the UN Charter and invades its neighbor has no place in the Security Council." It is true that some voices have called for expelling Russia from the UN Security Council, but according to experts that is almost impossible. Precisely because Russia has the right of veto over such decisions.
A day before the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, the UN General Assembly demanded Russia's immediate withdrawal from the country, in accordance with the UN Charter, which Moscow boasts of defending. In that vote, only six states came out in defense of Russian aggression: Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua and Syria. Among the 32 abstentions were China, India and Pakistan.
According to The Trust Project criteria
- United States
- Ministry of Defence
- North Korea
- United Kingdom