Since the start of the full-scale, unprovoked and unjustified Russian invasion in Ukraine on 24 February 2022, an integral part of Russian warfare has been its consistent abuse of the rights and privileges within the United Nations organs. Their constant use of the right to veto in the Security Council, effectively blocking any possible reaction of the United Nations to the war unleashed by Russia itself, has undermined the Organisation’s credibility and its efforts to maintain international peace and security. Russia even vetoed a resolution under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, whereas under Article 27(3) of the Charter, a party to a conflict must abstain from voting in decisions taken under Chapter VI.
Furthermore, the very membership of the Russian Federation in the United Nations is without any legal grounds. Russia claims to succeed the USSR’s membership, even though the latter officially ceased to exist. Russia’s real predecessor, the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, was not a UNSC member.
These facts (the absence of legal grounds for being a UNSC member and the de facto disregard for the “Purposes and Principles of the United Nations”) warrant a strong and decisive reaction from the international community.
Russia must be required to apply for UN membership under the normal procedure provided by the Charter or at least be immediately suspended from the Security Council for its hostile actions undermining global peace and security.
Consensus regarding the necessity of changes to prevent such abuses was clearly formed and demonstrated by the leaders’ statements at the United Nations General Assembly high-level Debate on 20-26 September 2022. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should contribute to providing a strong common voice of the Council of Europe on the process of the reform of the United Nations and its Security Council.