"In Ukraine, Moscow is pursuing an unprovoked war of aggression. In The Hague, Vladimir Putin is facing an arrest warrant for war crimes. But at the UN, Russia is about to take charge of a powerful international body, the security council.
From Saturday, it will be Russia’s turn to take up the monthly presidency of the 15-member council, in line with a rotation that has been unaffected by the Ukraine war.
The last time Russia held the gavel was in February last year, when Putin declared his ‘special military operation’ in the middle of a council session on Ukraine. Fourteen months on, tens of thousands of people have been killed, many of them civilians, cities have been ruined and Putin has been indicted by the international criminal court for the mass abduction of Ukrainian children.
In such circumstances, putting Russia in the driving seat of a world body tasked with ‘maintaining international peace and security’ seems like a cruel April fools joke to many, not least the Ukrainian mission to the UN.
‘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 in the case of 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 over the course of the month, but no member state is known to be planning any form of boycott or other protest..."