Who voted for Russia? Ukraine questions legitimacy of the Federation in the United Nations

London, 28 Feb 2022 – It’s not a provocation; it’s the historical, contradicting, reality of the United Nations. Today Sergiy Kyslytsya, permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, exhumed an issue the United Nations tried to bure for decades: the legitimacy of Russian seat in the Security Council. The debate is still alive and, after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, is raging like fire.

The issue, addressed in many academic studies and legal dissertations, is around the accession, without any vote, of Russian Federation to the UN in 1991 as continuation State of the USSR and its legitimacy.

Kyslytsya unearthed the challenge with the same emotional strength he read the printed screenshot of the last words of a dead Russian soldier chatting with his mother before dying in the battlefield over the last days.

“Putin has done everything to delegitimize Russian presence in the United Nations. But I wonder if the presence of Russian Federation has been legitimate; I wonder if ever this Assembly voted in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 4 on the admission of the Russian Federation to the UN either in December 1991 or in January 1992 or thereafter. I want to ask the delegates whose countries voted for the admission of the Russian delegation to UN to raise their hand to confirm that Russia was admitted to the UN according to the Charter; anyone? Please raise you hand if your country voted in the formal session of the General Assembly in reply to the letter by Boris Yeltsin dated 24 Dec. 1991 when he told the UN the Russia would like to be the continuation State of the demised Soviet Union. Anyone? I leave you with that and think about it when you listen to the Russian delegate”.

Watch video of UN General Assembly emergency special session on Ukraine

The Ambassador made the point with clear legal reference to paragraph 2 of Art 4 of the UN Charter (the one dealing with members obligations:

Article 4. ‘Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.’

The shot to Russian delegation was fired by Kyslytsya already last 24th February in the Security Council: “Russia is not able to carry out any of the obligations”.

It’s high time for a reform: let’s make a global referendum, if the UN Charter does not provide sufficient legal ground to get the world rid of Russia in the Security Council.

Who, today, wouldn’t look forward to seeing Putin’s regime kicked off the United Nations where it uses its veto power in the Security Council to foster its own geopolitical interests and now its cruel war and nuclear threat to the world?

We, the population, the citizens of the all nations witnessing this horror and feel threatened by the expansionist authoritarian regime of the largest country of the world, for sure would agree to strip Russia of its seat.

The issue, underlined by many studies on the matter, is: how to manage a nuclear power with 5,977 nuclear warheads out of the UN?

But, and here is the crucial point, Putin’s nuclear threat and the referendum turning Belarus into a nuclear country able go host Russian warheads, changed the perspective completely. Meaning the UN Security Council, where the Permanent Five members are the world’s nuclear powers, is no longer able to prevent a nuclear war, and the destruction of humanity.

Maybe Russia and Ukraine will find an agreement, maybe NATO deterrence will work, maybe sanctions will stop Putin on time. We don’t know. But if we survive today’s threat, it’s not guaranteed we will the next.