Zelenskyy to UN Security Council: revoke Russia’s membership or ‘dissolve’

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that it must either revoke Russia’s membership or “dissolve” in light of irrefutable evidence that Moscow is committing atrocities against Ukrainian civilians. 

Zelenskyy addressed the assembled Council in a video message, saying “it is difficult to find a war crime” Russia has not committed against the people of Ukraine. He called for the immediate punishment of Kremlin officials and rebuked the UN members for failing to revoke Russia’s permanent membership, which gives Moscow veto power over any decision.

Shortly after invading Ukraine, Moscow vetoed a resolution condemning its unprovoked war and calling for the immediate removal of its troops. Russia is one of five permanent members of the UNSC, joined by the US, UK, China, and France.  

During his speech, Zelenskyy railed against the Council’s ineffectiveness in fulfilling its sole objective of maintaining peace as harrowing images of mass graves and dead Ukrainian civilians lying in the streets of Bucha flashed across the screen.

“We’re dealing with a state that’s turning the veto [of] the UN Security Council into the right to die,” Zelenskyy said. “This undermines the whole architecture of global security and allows them to go unpunished.” 

If the Council does not enact immediate reforms to ensure peace going forward, Zelenskyy said “the next option would be [to] dissolve yourself altogether.” 

The Ukrainian president went on to accuse the UN of refusing to address past instances of Russian aggression, including its 2008 invasion of Georgia and 2014 annexation of Crimea. He argued that Russia’s actions in Ukraine were “no different” from atrocities committed by terror groups like ISIS. 

“We must do everything in our power to pass on to the next generation an effective UN,” he said.

The impassioned plea came days after Ukraine’s defense ministry and multiple media outlets circulated gruesome images and video footage revealing evidence of mass executions and torture committed against civilians in the city of Bucha following Russia’s withdrawal from the Kyiv region. 

Zelenskyy told the Council that if Russia is able to continue its aggression in Ukraine with impunity, it will be abundantly clear that other countries will be forced to rely “only on the power of their own arms to ensure their security and not on international law.”

“Are you ready to close the UN? Do you think that the time of international law is gone? If your answer is no, then you need to act immediately,” Zelenskyy challenged, concluding that “The UN system must be reformed immediately.” 

The video ended with the words “Stop Russian Aggression” emblazoned across the screen. 

The West, including the U.S., responded to the Bucha atrocities with outrage, condemning Russia’s actions as “war crimes,” but stopped short of agreeing with Ukraine’s accusations that the Kremlin is committing genocide. The legal term carries with it an obligation of prevention and punishment under international law.