Rather than punishing the Russian Federation for its genocidal war, the United Nations is set to allow the Kremlin to assume the presidency of its most powerful body; the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The irony is obvious, considering that in March, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly recognized that Russia had violated the United Nations Charter.

 The permanent representative of the nation accredited to the Security Council assumes presidency of the UNSC. In the case of Russia, that is Vasily Alekseyevich Nebenzya who has become infamous for voicing blatant lies, stalling meetings and behaving erratically during past meetings. As UNSC president he will be empowered to enforce rules of procedure, open debates, set agendas, limit speaking times for representatives and suspend or adjourn debate.

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 In recent years UNSC Presidents have notably moved beyond a simple procedural role to invite UN officials to brief the assembly. Investing the aggressor state with such additional powers, if “only” for one month, is nothing short of sacrilege.

 If allowed to assume the presidency, Nebenzya will not only run UNSC meetings, but will also be authorized to represent the Security Council in its relations with other states and organs of the United Nations such as the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). This, in light of Russia’s occupation of the third largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhia and blocking the IAEA from securing its nuclear safety, must be considered unacceptable.

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 Ukraine’s permanent representative at the UN, Serhiy Kyslytsia, is asking for a boycott to prevent Russia from chairing the UN Security Council and is urging member states to block Russia's presidency, which is scheduled to start in April.

 It is hoped that his efforts will be supported by the majority of member states who, just a few weeks ago, reiterated their demand for the Russian Federation to “immediately, completely and unconditionally” withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine and called for a cessation of hostilities.

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 The United Nations was specifically created to maintain global peace and protect humanity from the atrocities of war. With no end to Russia’s ongoing genocidal aggression in sight, by handing Russia the presidency of the organization’s highest council the UN will further expose its impotence, rather than importance.

 Logically, and in line with their previous Ukraine-related resolutions, the UNGA should do all within its power to limit the power of the state committing genocide in Ukraine; not empowering it. Not only should the UN Member states block Russia’s UNSC presidency, they should block its permanent right to veto all UNSC resolutions.

The 1950 UNGA Uniting for Peace Resolution was specifically designed to remove the UN Security Veto right from a member state grossly violating the UN Charter.

 The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres is visiting Kyiv this week. Paraphrasing, a comment he made a year ago in which he noted the day Russia attacked Ukraine was the saddest for him during his entire tenure, Ambassador Kysylytsia warns,  “It will be the saddest day in the history of the UN until April 1, 2023, if justice does not prevail and the Russian Federation begins to preside over the Security Council. The question is, who will have the courage and integrity to prevent Russia’s further empowerment or will fear and corruption within the UN continue empowering the Kremlin?

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