Why does Russia not want to lose its seat in the UN Security Council

In the face of the “war crimes” Russia is accused of, there is only one solution, according to the Ukrainian president: to exclude the country from the UN Security Council. Shocking photos of victims of support, Volodymyr Zelensky defended his point of view, Tuesday, April 5, before this body of which Russia is one of the five permanent members. But the chance of this request succeeding is very slim because it requires the approval of Vladimir Putin himself. However, this status and the veto it confers is a particularly valuable weapon for the head of the Kremlin in the context of the war in Ukraine.

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To prevent condemnation from the United Nations

Russia has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its creation in 1945, along with France, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. A seat that allows it to veto decisions and decisions regardless of the opinion of the majority within the Council. Moscow does not hesitate but holds the record for the number of vetoes (29 since the fall of the Soviet Union).

On February 25, a day after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, I thus prevented the adoption of a resolution condemning the “aggression” against the country led by Volodymyr Zelensky. The text, submitted by the United States and Albania, called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces. Despite 11 votes “in favor” (with three abstentions), the Russian “no” prevented any form of UN condemnation of the Russian invasion.

To oppose sending the Blue Helmets

The possibility of blocking also allows Russia to oppose a possible military intervention by the United Nations. As part of its peacekeeping mission, the United Nations can actually deploy Blue Helmets to ensure compliance with a ceasefire, as was the case in 1992 in Bosnia. These civilians, soldiers or police are supposed to work on behalf of “Disarming ex-combatants, defending fundamental rights, strengthening the rule of law, and supporting free and fair elections,” As stated by the United Nations on its website.

but For such a force to be deployed in Ukraine after the fighting ends, Security Council approval is required again. And Bertrand Badi, professor emeritus at Science-Po and a specialist in international relations, explains that the Russian veto is not in doubt: Russia is reluctant to be placed under the watchful eye of an authority it considers one of its pillars.

To face some legal action

With its veto, Russia could also oppose a UN Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court. Hence, it would prevent the launching of an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine. However, this does not protect it from any legal action because the ICC can also be seized by a state that is a member of the Treaty of Rome. [texte fondateur de la Cour] or by the public prosecutor.

And so on On Wednesday 2 March, Karim Khan, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, announced the opening of an investigation into the Ukrainian situation, considering that there is a “reasonable basis” of evidence. But this procedure promises to be long and pitfalls. In particular, because in order for a Russian official to be brought before the ICC, he must be arrested on the territory of a member of the Treaty of Rome, which has not been the case for Russia since 2016.

To send a message to his public opinion

In addition to this strength of political, military, and judicial hurdles, permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council is also a matter of prestige for Vladimir Putin, believes Carol Grimaud Potter, professor of geopolitics in Russia at the University of Montpellier. By continuing to attend Board meetings, in particular the one at which Volodymyr Zelensky spoke via video link, Russia wants to show that it is “right in its place”, researcher says.

It is also a way of showing the Russian public that Russia is still important in these bodies despite what is happening in Ukraine, despite the crimes in Bucha, Carol Grimaud Potter continues. It should be clear in your message to public opinion, that this is a just war. Russian public opinion would not have understood if Russia had not participated and might have considered this an eventual stampede.”

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