Happy April Fool’s Day! How do we know? Because Russia is taking over as chair of the UN Security Council.

After a year of bombarding Ukrainian cities, terrorising and mercilessly killing innocent civilians, the Kremlin has ‘earnt’ its right to sit as President of the UN Security Council this month.

Why is a terrorist state allowed to head up the UNSC? Especially given that on 17 March 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin.

Currently, the UN Security Council has no procedures to formally eject Russia. There are five permanent members of the Security Council: Russia, China, the US, the UK and France.

War Studies Professor Andrew MacLeod says there is “no mechanism to remove a permanent member of the Security Council written into the UN Charter. The word permanent was to mean just that”.

And even though there is a procedure to remove a country from the UN, Professor MacLeod points out that it “would require a vote of the UN General Assembly based on the recommendation of the Security Council”. The only problem is that Russia has a veto on the Security Council, making it impossible for the Council to recommend Russia’s removal without Russia’s agreement.

Therefore, Russia cannot be kicked out.

Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, took to Twitter, rightly calling Russia’s ascension to the presidency a “bad joke”.

He said: “Russia has usurped its seat. It’s waging a colonial war; its leader is a war criminal wanted by the ICC for kidnapping children. The world can’t be a safe place with Russia at UNSC.”

Kuleba is bang on the money, and let us not forget that the kidnapping of Ukrainian children is only one piece of this tyrannical puzzle.

Remember Putin’s ‘Butchers of Bucha’? The Russian soldiers behind the sickening massacre of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war. It is one of the critical events during Russia’s illegal occupation, demonstrating Putin’s genocidal intent, and it saw the torture, execution, looting and rape of civilians and soldiers.

According to local authorities, 458 bodies were recovered from the town, including 9 children under 18; among the victims, 419 people were killed by weapons, and 39 died of natural causes, possibly related to the occupation.

Many of the bodies were found with their hands tied behind their backs, with gunshot wounds to the head. Meanwhile, others were discovered dismembered, scalped, beheaded or even having their eyes and tongue gouged out.

A year later, no-one has been brought to justice for these crimes…

An inability to act upon this has brought the UN into disrepute. Imagine if Hitler were assuming control of the Council. Would the UN task itself to rethink its functionality?

Reckless decisions such as this leave firm believers in our precious rules-based order, such as myself, to find ourselves asking what the UN is for? It is beyond a joke.

Cormac Smith is an expert in the field of government communications, having been a former adviser to the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine. He has enjoyed a successful and highly varied career in government, which spanned almost two decades.


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