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Ukraine looks at ways of excluding Russia from UN
Head of the UBA's committee on international law Olga Kuchmiienko Pic: UBA

23 May 2022 / global news Print

Ukraine looks at ways of excluding Russia from UN

The Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) has called for Russia to be isolated from any influence on decision-making in the United Nations (UN) due to its invasion of Ukraine.

The organisation has acknowledged, however, that there is no clear way of removing Russia from the Security Council, the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on UN member states.

Russia is one of five permanent members of the council, where it has a veto.

The Ukrainian government is, however, attempting to challenge Russia’s right to this position, which it took up after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

UN Charter

The UBA says that the UN’s General Assembly was never asked to approve Russia’s admission to the Security Council, and that the UN Charter was never amended after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

It notes that, while the states of the former Soviet Union backed Russia’s membership at the time, this was “a political declaration, rather than an international treaty”.

Ukraine’s minister for foreign affairs Dmytro Kuleba had previously called for “a thorough and unbiased legal analysis” of the grounds for Russia’s continued membership of the Security Council.

In April, the UN adopted a resolution suspending Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council, with the required two-thirds majority of voting members.

‘Realistic option’

The UBA argues, however, that the human-rights body, unlike the Security Council, does not allow its members to determine the global geo-political future.

In an analysis written by three of its members, the lawyers’ organisation says that expelling Russia from the UN is not an option, as such a decision would have to be recommended by the Security Council. It also rules out changing the charter to exclude Russia, as this would also need the backing of the Security Council.

It concludes that the most realistic option would be to terminate Russia’s delegation to the UN, meaning that it would remain a member, but lose the right to vote.

“According to the UN Charter, this decision will not require the involvement of the Security Council,” the UBA says.

The analysis was written by three members of the UBA's committee on international law: Olga Kuchmiienko (head of the committee, pictured), Anna Bukvych, and Viktor Pasichnyk.

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