Russia takes charge of UN Security Council despite Ukraine opposition

Russian President Vladimir Putin  (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

Russia has taken charge of the United Nations Security Council despite opposition from Ukraine.

From Saturday, Russia’s takes control pf the monthly presidency of the 15-member council, in line with a rotation unaffected by the Ukraine war.

It means the Security Council is being led by a nation whose president is facing an arrest warrant for war crimes issued by the International Criminal Court last month.

“As of 1 April, they’re taking the level of absurdity to a new level,” said Sergiy Kyslytsya, the Ukrainian permanent representative.

“The security council as it is designed is immobilised and incapable to address the issues of their primary responsibility, that is, prevention of conflicts and then dealing with conflicts.”

The ambassador said Ukraine would stay away from the security council in April except for an “issue of critical national security interest”.

Ukraine is not a current council member, though it is often called to speak on issues related to the war.

The US, Britain, France and their supporters on the council are likely to show their disapproval by downgrading the level of their representation at Russian-hosted events, but no member state is known to be planning any form of boycott or other protest.

On Thursday the US urged Russia to “conduct itself professionally” but said there was no means to block Moscow from the post.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Russia’s presidency “the worst joke ever for April Fool’s Day” and a “stark reminder that something is wrong with the way international security architecture is functioning”.

Mykhaylo Podolyak, Ukraine’s presidential adviser, said the move was “another rape of international law... an entity that wages an aggressive war, violates the norms of humanitarian and criminal law, destroys the UN Charter, neglects nuclear safety, can’t head the world’s key security body”.

President Volodymyr Zelensky called last year for the Security Council to reform or “dissolve altogether”, accusing it of failing to take enough action to prevent Russia’s invasion.

He has also called for Russia to be removed of its member status.