Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to strip Russia of its UN Security Council vote, as the body voted on Sunday to call for a rare emergency special session of the 193-member UN General Assembly on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
The special session will be held on Monday — only 10 such emergency special sessions of the General Assembly have been convened since 1950.
Zelensky took to Twitter after Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution denouncing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and calling on the Russians to withdraw from the neighboring country.
“To deprive the aggressor country of the right to vote in the U.N. Security Council, to qualify Russian actions and statements as genocide of the Ukrainian people, to help with the delivery of corpses of Russian soldiers. Talked about it in a conversation with UN Secretary General [Antonio Guterres],” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted.
To deprive the aggressor country of the right to vote in the UN Security Council, to qualify 🇷🇺 actions & statements as genocide of 🇺🇦 people, to help with the delivery of corpses of 🇷🇺 soldiers. Talked about it in a conversation with the #UN Secretary General @antonioguterres.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 26, 2022
Russia is one of the five permanent members of the council and has veto power over any action — the body’s P5 members are: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
An argument is being put forth to challenge Russia’s right to a permanent seat of the UN security council on the grounds that Russia took the seat from the defunct Soviet Union in 1991 without proper authorization, The Guardian reported.
What’s more, Russia currently presides over the council. The presidency rotates monthly between the 15 members of the security council, allowing the office holder to shape its monthly agenda and to chair its meetings, according to the U.K. newspaper.
In a forceful speech last week, Ukraine’s representative to the U.N. Sergiy Kyslytsya demanded that the Russian Federation “relinquish responsibilities” of the president of the Security Council.
“Pass these responsibilities on to a legitimate member of Security Council,” Kyslytsya said.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 24, 2022
Russia vetoed Friday’s resolution denouncing its invasion of Ukraine, with China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstaining from the vote.
“You can veto this resolution but you cannot veto our voices,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield told her Russian counterpart.
Russia exercised its veto power today in an effort to protect Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, unjustified, and unconscionable war in Ukraine. But let me make one thing clear: Russia, you can veto this resolution, but you cannot veto our voices,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield said afterwards. “You cannot veto the truth. You cannot veto our principles. You cannot veto the Ukrainian people. You cannot veto the UN Charter. And you will not veto accountability.”
In an appearance on CNN, Greenfield spoke of efforts to isolate Putin.
“Russia is a member of the Security Council. That’s in the U.N. Charter,” she said. “But we are going to hold Russia accountable for disrespecting the U.N. Charter. And they have been isolated in many different ways. So just to indicate, 80 countries joined us in co-sponsoring the resolution, more than 50 countries joined us at the podium to call out Russia’s aggression, so the fact of their sitting on the Security Council does not mean they’re protected from criticism, protected from isolation, and protected from condemnation.”
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who has introduced a resolution to encourage the U.N. to remove Russia from the Security Council, took to Twitter to echo that call.
Remove Russia from the UN Security Council.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) February 25, 2022
Other GOP lawmakers have followed suit:
I’m honored to lead a resolution calling on the Administration to remove Russia from the UN Security Council. It’s a tall order, but if we don’t act to uphold core values & promote peace, who will?
I urge my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, to join me in this effort.
— Rep. Claudia Tenney (@RepTenney) February 25, 2022
Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council. The UN has become a complete joke and this might be a good first step to correcting that problem.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 24, 2022
Richard Gowan, U.N. Director of the International Crisis Group said the likelihood of success is minimal because Russia could kill the process “stone dead” with its veto.
“I think that specialists in U.N. procedure are pretty skeptical that you can strip Russia of its U.N. membership,” Gowan told Fox News.
“There’s clearly a moral argument for doing that, it’d clearly be very satisfying as a political signal, but we should also consider that Russia on the outside of the U.N. might be even harder to talk to and even more resentful, making it potentially even more disruptive,” he cautioned.
Putin is reportedly “furious” over the fearless Ukrainian resistance, expecting to have rolled over the country’s defenses in a matter of 4-5 days.
On Sunday, while President Biden retreated to his home in Delaware for the weekend, Putin placed his nuclear forces on an increased state of readiness known as “special regime of combat duty,” which drew condemnation from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for the “escalation.”
Russian and Ukrainian delegations are to meet Monday on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border to engage in talks that may or may not bring hostilities to a halt.
Zelenskyy is skeptical of the outcome of those talks/
“I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try, so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as president, tried to stop the war,” he said, according to various reports.
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