Russia is in charge of the U.N. Security Council this month, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba says that's the "world's worst April Fool's joke."
"The country which systematically violates all fundamental rules of international security is presiding over a body whose only mission is to safeguard and protect international security," Kuleba said, CNN reported Saturday.
"It does seem rather grotesque ... it makes the council look bad," International Crisis Group U.N. head Richard Gowan agreed about Russia taking the presidency.
The Security Council's presidency rotates alphabetically between its 15 member nations, with five permanent members, including the United States and Russia, controlling the body.
But Russia's control of the council this month comes after President Vladimir Putin has been accused of war crimes for his country's aggressions in Ukraine, with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March issuing an arrest warrant for him and accusing him of illegally deporting hundreds of Ukrainian children.
Further, the last time Russia was president of the council was in February 2022, the same month it invaded Ukraine. In its current role, Russia will be able to maneuver meetings about Ukraine and portray accusations from United States and Western countries as being false.
Russia's supporters pointed out that the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 without the council's approval, but a Security Council diplomat told CNN that the issue isn't about Putin, but about "Russian behavior in Ukraine."
Ukraine has questioned Russia's permanent seat on the council, noting that the chair that had been held by the former Soviet Union was granted without a vote in the early 1990s.
But it would be difficult to eliminate Russia as a permanent member of the Security Council; a Russian veto could mean a vote to remove it would fail.
"A country that flagrantly violates the U.N. charter and invades their smaller neighbor has no place on the U.N. Security Council," a spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations told CNN. "Unfortunately, Russia is a permanent member of the council, and no international legal pathway exists to change that reality."
That means all that can be done is to challenge what Russia says to the council, the spokesperson added, and "we continue to call out their lies and bring credible voices, data, and facts on the ground."
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