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Russia tipped to use UN security council presidency to 'paralyse' Ukraine war opposition

Daily Express logo Daily Express 26/03/2023 Ciaran McGrath

Russia's forthcoming presidency of the Security Council (UNSC) makes a "mockery" of the entire organisation, with Moscow certain to use the role to thwart the international community, a diplomat has warned. Oleh Ninchenko has even questioned why Russia was permitted to sit on the UNSC in the first place - urging the UK to make the point at every possible opportunity.

The Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, and consists of 15 members, each with one vote. Five - China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Russia - are permanent members, with the remainder elected for two-year terms.

The Presidency is rotated on a monthly basis, with the post currently occupied by Mozambique's Pedro Comissario Afonso, and Russia's UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya up next.

Mr Ninchenko, who is a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, told "Russia's presidency over the Security Council is a mockery of the authority that is entrusted to maintain international peace and security.

"Russia held the presidency in February last year, the same month when Russia launched its full-scale invasion against Ukraine.

"So we are not expecting anything good from Russia's presidency in the council during April.

Vasily Nebenzya and UK Prime Minister Rishi SunakVasily Nebenzya and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak © GETTY Vasily Nebenzya and UK Prime Minister Rishi SunakVasily Nebenzya and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak RUSSIA-POLITICS-PUTIN © Getty RUSSIA-POLITICS-PUTIN

"And they will continue to undermine the Security Council, preventing it from responding properly not only to the Russia's war in Ukraine but to other conflicts in the world.

"Because as we see Russia's war crimes, Russia's crimes against international peace and security, extend far beyond Ukraine's borders, reaching Africa, Asia and the Middle East."

Russia has used its veto in the council 31 times since 1991, Mr Ninchenko pointed out, almost twice as often as any other permanent member.

So this is definitely a pattern portion of abusing the veto power but also abusing the Security Council and paralysing and blocking it whenever it has to react, as was the case with Ukraine over these last nine years.

Russia just uses its permanent council seat as a shield to protect itself from the consequences of its actions, Mr Ninchenko said.

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UN-DIPLOMACY-ENVIRONMENT-DROUGHT © Getty UN-DIPLOMACY-ENVIRONMENT-DROUGHT UN Security Council Meeting In New York © Getty UN Security Council Meeting In New York

He further claimed Russia was occupying a permanent seat on the UNSC "illegally", explaining: "Russia claimed so-called continuity from the Soviet Union's membership but this process wasn't clear and transparent.

"They just claimed the continuity, but in fact, nothing was specified as to why Russia should continue to have the USSR's seat."

He continued: "Unfortunately, there is no mechanism preventing Russia from holding the Presidency of the Council.

"However, we need to really discuss in detail why Russia is illegally occupying a place on the Security Council and what needs to be done in order to fix this problem."

Commenting on Russia's UN ambassador Vasily Nebanzya, who made headlines recently for interrupting a minute's silence for Ukrainian victims of the war, he added: "It's really a situation when a war criminal, and Nebanzya is accountable in his country's regime, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, will be assuming a role of a president of the Council, which is responsible for maintaining international peace and security.


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Pedro Comissario Afonso, Permanent Representative of... © Getty Pedro Comissario Afonso, Permanent Representative of...

"So unfortunately, the rules that exist now are completely irrelevant to the current situation and must be changed."

Asked whether there was a role for Britain, Mr Ninchenko said: "We definitely would welcome the more active engagement of the UK in this matter.

"Especially since the UK is one of the permanent members of the Security Council, and, I think it's in the interest of both countries, Ukraine and the UK, to make the security council work properly.

"And we were in so many situations when Russia blocked so many important resolutions or actions in the Security Council.

"So it will be in all in our interests to correct this and to deprive Russia of these of these instruments."

Vasily Nebenzya and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak © GETTY Vasily Nebenzya and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

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