Zelenskyy called for stripping Russia of its veto power in the UN Security Council

Russia should lose its veto right in the UN Security Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said. In his opinion, it is the very thing that makes the organization “incapable”.

“In this chair in the Security Council, which Russia occupied illegally through behind-the-scenes manipulation after the collapse of the Soviet Union, sit liars whose job is to justify aggression and genocide. <…> The veto in the hands of the aggressor is what has driven the UN into a deadlock”, Zelenskyy said (quoted by the BBC).

He said the use of the veto should be a key reform of the UN so that it does not serve as “a weapon for those who are obsessed with hatred and war”. According to Zelenskyy, the current system has led to a situation where anyone’s efforts to prevent aggression are futile and pointless.

“Humanity no longer relies on the UN when it comes to protecting the sovereign borders of nations. <…> Be whoever you want – the existing system still makes you less than the veto power that only a few countries have and which is used by one Russia to the detriment of all other UN members”, the Ukrainian president explained.

In this regard, Zelenskyy proposed to give the General Assembly – an assembly of all UN countries – the right to override the veto of a permanent member of the Security Council by a qualified two-thirds majority vote, which “would reflect the freedom of nations from Asia, from Africa, from Europe, from both Americas, and from the Pacific region”. He noted that such a General Assembly resolution should be binding.

Zelenskyy also spoke in favor of increasing the number of permanent members of the Security Council, proposing to include Germany, the African Union, Japan, India and Latin American countries.

The third point of the reform should be a mechanism that would allow suspending membership in the Security Council in case of aggression against another state, he believes.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke out in favor of the UN Security Council reform. Pope Francis also called for the same.

Since the founding of the UN, the organization’s Security Council includes the United States, Russia (formerly the USSR), China, Britain and France, which have the right of veto. It also has ten non-permanent member states.

On February 25, 2022, three days after the invasion of Ukraine, Russia vetoed a resolution to end the “military operation”. On September 30, Russia used this right to block a draft resolution condemning the annexation of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

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