As Ukraine burns, UN Security Council watches as Russia halts group’s action with veto power

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The United Nations Security Council has held nearly a dozen meetings on Ukraine since late January, six of them since the brutal Russian invasion began last month. The ensuing rallies to condemn the Russian invasion, which called for a ceasefire and humanitarian corridors, have yielded almost nothing – because Russia, as one of the five permanent members of the 15-member body, has veto power and so far exercised that veto to stop any action against it.

The United Nations was created after World War II with the aim of ending future wars, but while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is warning the world of another world war, the Security Council is being used by Russia to counter any meaningful action. turn. And it seems that even the Secretary-General of the United Nations is frustrated by the inaction.

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Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, acknowledged those frustrations. “The complicating factor in ending this crisis is the division within the Security Council. As we have seen before, when the Security Council is divided, when especially the five permanent members of the Security Council are divided, it only makes it achieving peace that is much more complicated.”

Kelly Craft, who served as the United States ambassador to the world organization from 2019-2021, told Fox News Digital that the council has failed when it comes to Ukraine. “While the UN Security Council can reach a majority position and sometimes consensus on pressing international issues, there are standout moments when it’s a complete failure. This is one such case,” Craft said. “With Russia, a permanent member of the council vetoing it, there is no way to prevent Moscow from blocking a resolution that would condemn Russian aggression and support a ceasefire that would end this horrific war.”

Russia Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Thursday, March 17, 2022 at UN headquarters.
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Craft said that while the UN General Assembly’s non-binding vote to condemn Russia earlier this month was helpful in isolating President Vladimir Putin from the international community and noting the UN’s vital humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and neighboring countries, she said the Russian invasion has shown the weakness of the UN. “The fundamental truth is that meaningful UN action on a geopolitical front is woefully inadequate to end this conflict. This underscores the United Nations’ limitations as an international body to address the dangers of our time and makes It is abundantly clear that other ways of resolving the conflict must be pursued in tandem.”

Richard Gowan, the UN director of the International Crisis Group (ICG), recently writing in Foreign Affairs that the war in Ukraine threatened long-term damage to the UN and said that while Security Council observers were not surprised at the inability to work together To come to terms with Ukraine, noting the council’s past failures on Syria and Burma, he told Fox News Digital that the council still had a useful role to play. “We have to be realistic about what the Security Council can and cannot do. It is very helpful when it comes to managing peacekeeping in Africa or humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. One small bright spot in the recent mess over Ukraine is that Russia decided to important UN resolution on the holding of a UN mission in Afghanistan that will assist in obtaining aid to the ailing Afghans.”

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One of the critics who has challenged the United Nations Security Council’s performance and the organization’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine is Clifford May, the chairman of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). May said the world body has become an increasingly dysfunctional organization, noting, “This has been apparent for years to anyone who pays close attention. Unfortunately, very few people in Congress or the State Department have paid close attention to this.”

Addressing the UN Security Council’s inability to get anything done about Ukraine, May said he saw the potential for a different approach: “You can imagine an alternative to the UN Security Council and, indeed, to the increasingly dysfunctional UN system… but that would require a long-term project, one that the current administration probably won’t even begin.”

May also focused on Guterres’ performance during the current crisis: “The UN Secretary-General is hardly a profile of courage. Russia and China sit as permanent members with veto power. And neither Russia nor China entrust him to save Ukrainian lives. help save or maintain the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine, a UN member state.”

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Dujarric disagreed with criticism of his boss, telling Fox News Digital that Guterres continued to actively focus on the humanitarian and diplomatic aspects of the Russian invasion. “The Secretary General has been in constant contact with many leaders and parties. Among them are heads of government and senior leaders from Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Turkey, Israel. Finland, France, Russia and many others.”

He said the secretary general had been candid and made it clear from day one of the conflict that the war must end immediately and that Russian troops must end hostilities and withdraw from Ukraine. “From the very first day of the conflict, he appealed to the President of the Russian Federation to cease the fighting. As he has emphasized, countless innocent people – including women and children – have been killed, and this escalating violence is completely unacceptable. The protection of civilians must be the number one priority.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during an interview at UN Headquarters in New York City.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during an interview at UN Headquarters in New York City.
(AP/Robert Bumsted, File)

Gowan of the ICG said there could still be a bigger role for Guterres and the UN in helping to end the invasion. He said Guterres “had no choice but to condemn last month’s Russian war, and that was the right thing to do. But as soon as he spoke out against Moscow, Russia decided they couldn’t trust him as a mediator. So he has little political traction with Moscow and cannot play a significant diplomatic role unless Putin decides it needs UN help to end the war.”

He said there may even come a time when Russia will need the help of the UN. “I can envision a scenario where Moscow decides to cut its losses and end hostilities and turn to the UN for help. That could mean asking UN observers for a ceasefire.” firing line. Russia might try to take credit for this diplomatic solution at the UN to offset its military problems, but this sort of idea remains quite hypothetical at this point.”

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The United Nations General Assembly is expected to meet again this week in an emergency special session on Ukraine. A draft resolution entitled “Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine” will be discussed and put to the vote.

The resolution is expected to be similar to the one sponsored by France and Mexico, which did not even get a hearing in the Security Council. If, as expected, it gets a majority of votes in the general assembly, the resolution, unlike a Security Council resolution, is not legally binding and thus largely symbolic.

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