Ukraine's foreign minister has said Kyiv plans to call for Russia to be removed as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council due to its continued strikes against civilian infrastructure in its war against Ukraine.
"We have a very simple question: Does Russia have the right to remain a permanent member of the UN Security Council and to be in the United Nations at all?" Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in televised remarks on December 25. "We have a convincing and reasoned answer -- no, it does not."
Kuleba said that Ukraine would officially express its position on December 26, and claimed that the issue of Russia continuing to hold its veto-wielding permanent seat in the Security Council was already being discussed in UN diplomacy circles.
The Ukrainian foreign minister said it was no longer taboo to discuss Russia's global role in the event it is defeated in the full-scale war it launched against Ukraine in February.
"These issues are not yet discussed at press conferences and in public statements by the leaders of states and governments, but at a lower level, people are already asking the question -- what Russia should become like in order not to pose a threat to peace and security?"
Russia is one of five permanent members -- in addition to the United States, Britain, France, and China -- of the UN Security Council, giving it the right to veto any resolutions. The powerful 15-seat body can take numerous steps to deal with global crises, including the authorization of military action, approving changes to the UN Charter, and imposing punitive measures such as sanctions against individual states.
Russia has for weeks been accused of violating international law by targeting water and power sources in Ukraine as temperatures fell. Kyiv has called the attacks, carried out with missile and drone strikes, acts of "energy terror" intended to deprive the population of heat during winter and break the will of the Ukrainian people.
On November 23, Kuleba called for Russia to be recognized as a "terrorist state" in the wake of a wave of missile attacks targeting energy facilities in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities. The same day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on the Security Council during a video link address to take firm action against Moscow for targeting civilian infrastructure.
"We cannot be hostage to one international terrorist," Zelenskiy said. "Russia is doing everything to make an energy generator a more powerful tool than the UN Charter."
Zelenskiy called for Russia to be denied a vote on any decision concerning its actions, alleging that "Russia has been trying to turn the UN Security Council into a platform for rhetoric for a long time."
"The Security Council must give a clear assessment of the actions of the terrorist state in accordance with Chapter 7 of the UN Charter," Zelenskiy said. "Ukraine proposes that the Security Council adopt such a resolution condemning any form of energy terror. Let's see if anyone in the world will be able to say, together with Russia, that terror against civilians is supposedly good."
Russia has continued to strike Ukrainian infrastructure -- including thermal and hydroelectric power plants and energy networks -- with multiple mass missiles strikes in December, resulting in mass power outage around the country.
The United States on December 21 pledged a new $1.85 billion security assistance package for Ukraine that will include a Patriot air-defense battery in an effort to help Kyiv protect its airspace. (KB/RFE)