Ukraine to call for veto-wielding Russia’s removal from UN Security Council

Ukrainian foreign minister says the question of Moscow’s permanent seat already under discussion in diplomatic circles, after years of calls for reform of international body

A civilian walks among heavily damaged residential buildings in Soledar, Donetsk region, Ukraine, December 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Libkos)
A civilian walks among heavily damaged residential buildings in Soledar, Donetsk region, Ukraine, December 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Libkos)

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine is planning to call for Russia to be removed as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council on Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

“Tomorrow we will officially express our position. We have a very simple question: Does Russia have the right to remain a permanent member of the UN Security Council and to be in the United Nations at all?” he said, speaking late Sunday during a national television marathon.

“We have a convincing and reasoned answer — no, it does not.”

Kuleba said the question of Russia’s veto-wielding permanent seat in the UN Security Council — also held by the United States, Britain, France and China — was already being discussed around diplomacy circles.

“These issues are not yet discussed at press conferences and in public statements by the leaders of states and governments, but at a lower level, people are already asking the question — what Russia should become like in order not to pose a threat to peace and security,” he said.

The powerful Security Council consists of 15 members tasked with tackling global crises by enacting sanctions, authorizing military action, and approving changes to the UN charter.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is seen following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, on April 7, 2022. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP)

But the permanent five — who all carry veto power that can block any resolution — reflect the power dynamics at the end of World War II.

Countries have long pleaded for reform of the Security Council, with some criticizing the lack of representation when it comes to permanent seats for African and Latin American countries.

The body can also be rendered impotent by a single veto-wielding member — as was shown in February when diplomats carried on reading pre-written statements just as Russia started bombarding Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden in September said he supported an expansion of the Security Council and for it to “become more inclusive” — a rare call for action from Washington, given that it famously bypassed the Council to invade Iraq during George W. Bush’s administration.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western powers have pored through UN procedural rules to ensure Russia not block Security Council meetings.

They have turned to another UN body — the 193-member General Assembly — to seek condemnation of the Kremlin’s actions.

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