Zelensky to Speak at U.N. Security Council Meeting on Russia

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver one of his most high-profile speeches since the start of the war when he addressed the United Nations Security Council via video link on Tuesday.

With three permanent members of the Security Council – Britain, France and the United States – firmly in his corner, Mr Zelensky was expected to allege war crimes committed by Russian troops as evidence of civilian killings in the suburbs of Kyiv .

But Russia and its ally China are also permanent members of the council and have veto power over any action. ten non-permanent members also have a say: Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.

Here’s what you need to know before the meeting:

The Security Council of 15 countries is the most powerful UN body. It is her responsibility to protect and maintain international peaceand it has the power to enforce decisions that member states are required to follow under the UN Charter

Once a threat to peace is presented to the council, the first step is to push for a resolution by “peaceful meansincluding investigations, mediation or appointment of a special envoy. If the threat is not resolved, economic sanctions, the severance of diplomatic relations, travel bans, collective military action and arms embargoes are among the last measures the Council can enforce. The Council may also send peacekeeping troops.

The council is unlikely to agree on measures against Russia, as Russia will almost certainly veto a resolution on Ukraine as a permanent councilor. But Mr. Zelensky will likely demand that allies provide his country with more weapons and further isolate President Vladimir V. Putin from Russia.

The meeting will be a prominent place for Ukraine-affiliated nations to make impassioned pleas and for Russia to sharply deny atrocities.

In February, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations vetoed a Security Council resolution written by the United States and its allies condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, used his speech to criticize the United States for invading Iraq in 2003.

China, an increasingly important Russian ally, has avoided any criticism of Russia since the beginning of the war and has portrayed Russia as a long-suffering victim of the West. It abstained in the council vote in February, while calling on Western countries to listen to Russia’s concerns.

Of the 10 rotating members, Brazil and Gabon also have close ties to Russia. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro flew to Moscow just before the invasion and has taken a neutral stance over the war. Gabon, one of Africa’s largest oil producers, has ties to Russia dating back to the Soviet Union.

Ireland and Norway are likely to join other Western democracies to support Ukraine. Ghana has deep ties to the United States and is likely to support the Western position as well.

India has tried to maintain relations with Russia without antagonizing the United States, and its position in the conflict has been more difficult to discern. In February, India invoked its decades-old ties to Russia when it voted to abstain from the Security Council resolution. The United Arab Emirates, a US ally in the Middle East, also abstained in the vote in February.

SOURCE – www.nytimes.com

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