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Russia defends itself over criticism on UN Security Council presidency

#Russia #defends #criticism #Security #Council #presidency

Russia defended itself Monday against a barrage of criticism over its presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of April, insisting it will not abuse the position to defend its invasion of Ukraine.

“We do not abuse the prerogatives of the presidency,” said the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia.

“One thing is the national position. The second thing is the role of the presidency of the Security Council,” he said at a press conference marking Russia’s assumption of the rotating position.

The situation provoked stinging criticism from Ukraine, which called it a “slap in the face to the international community,” and from its allies.

“As you know, Russia is assuming its seat as president of the Security Council. Started on April 1. It’s like an April Fool’s joke,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador. 

“But the truth of the matter is, it’s a rotating seat. We expect that they will behave professionally,” she said. 

“But we also expect that they will use their seat to spread disinformation and to promote their own agenda as it relates to Ukraine, and we will stand ready to call them out at every single moment that they attempt to do that,” the ambassador added.

Ukraine and the West have for months been denouncing Russian “propaganda” over its invasion of Ukraine in February of last year. 

Nebenzia said such criticism was in the “vein of the Western narrative”, and in turn accused Kyiv’s allies of spreading disinformation in particular about “the situation of Ukrainian children who were allegedly kidnapped from Ukraine and brought to Russia against their will.”

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin on charges of war crimes for the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children during the invasion. 

The Russian ambassador called the warrant “stupid” and “illegitimate.” He is organizing an informal meeting at the UN on Wednesday to address the issue. 

The presidency of the Security Council confers certain prerogatives in terms of setting the agenda for the body. But as a permanent member, Russia already has the ability to convene emergency meetings when it wants them. 

The country holding the presidency also usually organizes two or three specific meetings on selected topics. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to chair one of them on April 24, on “the defense of the principles of the UN charter.” 

“Russia is in no position to talk about international law or the values of the UN,” said deputy British Ambassador James Kariuki.

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