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Citing ‘genocide,’ Zelensky asks UN to strip Russia of its Security Council vote

Ukrainian president makes request after Russia vetoes resolution condemning its invasion

Russia's UN Ambassador Russia Vasily Nebenzya casts a lone dissenting vote in the United Nations Security Council, February 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Russia's UN Ambassador Russia Vasily Nebenzya casts a lone dissenting vote in the United Nations Security Council, February 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that he asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to strip Russia of its vote at the UN Security Council as punishment for invading Ukraine.

“To deprive the aggressor country of the right to vote in the UN 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,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

Russia is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council with the right to veto decisions, along with China, France, the UK and the United States.

A resolution written by the United States and Albania condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine failed in the Security Council on Friday, due to Russia applying its permanent member veto power.

Diplomats said the Security Council will convene Sunday to vote on a resolution calling for a special session of the General Assembly over the Russian invasion.

Only nine of the 15 Security Council member states would need to vote in favor of the resolution for it to be adopted at the meeting, which was requested by the United States and Albania and is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the Ukraine crisis, in New York, February 21, 2022.(Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

Under a rarely used procedure, none of the five permanent members would be allowed to veto the convening of the special session Monday.

The goal of the “General Assembly special session” will be to “force the 193 members of the UN to take a position” on the conflict and Russia’s “violation of the UN Charter,” as well as to formally condemn the war, a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP.

In this screenshot from a video posted Saturday morning, February 26, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukrainians will fight for their land, as Russian troops were said to be closing in on the capital, Kyiv. (Screenshot/Twitter)

If the proposed resolution is approved by the Council, rules would require the special General Assembly session to be held within 24 hours.

The General Assembly is expected to vote on a similar resolution at some point following the special session.

Multiple diplomats told AFP they expect a majority, with over 100 UN members to vote in favor of the resolution.

In General Assembly voting, none of the 193 UN members hold a veto, but resolutions are non-binding.

Due to the situation in Ukraine, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has scrapped a trip to Geneva to address the Human Rights Council on Monday and will instead remain in New York, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

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