United Nations: Is Russia part of the UN and what is Article 51 of the UN Charter?
In the meeting, Ukraine’s UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya effectively called for Russia to be expelled from the meeting and from the UN.
“Three minutes ago, your president declared war on my country,” Kyslytsya told his Russian counterpart.
“There’s no purgatory for war criminals, Mr Ambassador, they go to hell,” he continued later.
Here’s how the UN have responded so far, and whether Russia can use the UN’s charter as justification for invading.
Is Russia a member of the United Nations?
The Russian Federation that represents Russia is a member of the United Nations, having taken on the permanent membership after the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.
The Soviet Union was a founding member of the UN back in 1945.
How has the UN responded to the Russia-Ukraine war?
The UN was conducting an emergency Security Council meeting when President Vladimir Putin ordered the ‘special military operation’ that marked the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At the same time as the meeting goes on, Russian President Vladimir Putin went on television in Russia to announce the military operation, supposedly intended to protect civilians in Ukraine from the rise of Nazis, a claim that has been widely regarded as incorrect.
During the council meeting Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya told the council warned them that it was now “too late” for diplomacy.
“It’s too late, my dear colleagues, to speak about de-escalation. I call on every one of you to do everything possible to stop the war.”
"President Putin, in the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia," United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said following the emergency meeting of the Security Council on Ukraine.
He later referred to the invasion as the “saddest moment in my tenure”.
What is Article 51 of the UN Charter?
Seeking to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Russia’s UN ambassador and current president of the Security Council Vasily Nebenzya, told fellow members of the council that “special operations” were under way.
He went to claim that the action did not amount to war and was a consequence of Ukraine’s actions.
“The aim of the operation is to protect the people who for eight years have been suffering “genocide of the Ukrainian regime”, Nebenzya said, claiming the action was justified under Article 51 of the UN Charter.
This article allows for individual or collective self-defence in the face of an armed attack on a UN member state.
"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security,” it reads.
"Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”
Putin demanded Ukrainian forces lay down their arms, and repeated his position that any Ukrainian membership of NATO was unacceptable to Moscow, according to state media.
However, other countries around the world have refuted claims that this invasion was lawful, with Germany’s UN ambassador, Antje Leendertse, calling it a “shameless breach of international law” and the UK’s, Dame Barbara Woodward, describing the attack as “unprovoked, unjust” and a “dark day for Ukraine”.
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