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UN chief blasts Russia’s Ukraine invasion as Lavrov looks on

UN chief blasts Russia’s Ukraine invasion as Lavrov looks on
Antonio Guterres and Sergey Lavrov at the UN headquarters in New York, on April 24, 2023. Photographer: Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

(Bloomberg) -- United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres confronted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Security Council on Monday, denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the UN Charter as well as international law.

Lavrov sat impassively next to Guterres at the council’s iconic horseshoe-shaped table, but then launched into a tirade against the US and its allies when he spoke next.

Russia’s invasion “is causing massive suffering and devastation to the country and its people,” Guterres said. “We must find a way forward and act now as we have done before to stop the slide toward chaos and conflict.”

Russia’s top diplomat is in New York this week to lead sessions of the Security Council as part of Russia’s month-long rotating presidency of the body. Moscow chose “Defense of the UN Charter” as the topic of Monday’s session.

European Union ambassadors denounced that as cynical in light of Russia’s invasion and the fact that the charter calls on all UN members to respect each other’s sovereignty.

Russia Says G-7 Export Ban Would Trigger Grain Deal Exit

The EU ambassadors reiterated calls for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. The US invited Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of imprisoned American Paul Whelan to attend. He’s been held in Russia for more than four years on espionage charges, allegations the US says are bogus.

Guterres alluded to the divisions Russia’s invasion has set off, saying that the multilateral system is under greater strain than at any time since the founding of the UN after World War II.

After talks with Guterres on Monday, Lavrov said Russia has not seen any progress on its demands concerning the Black Sea grain initiative.

Lavrov Sees No Progress on Russian Part of Black Sea Grain Deal

“We don’t see a will from Western countries to implement what is necessary to achieve a successful realization” of the Secretary General’s initiative for a packaged approach to agricultural-product exports from Ukraine and Russia, Lavrov said.

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  • Stephen Paul says:

    Better late than never but why has it taken the UN to state the blindingly obvious. The UN charter is broken. It never envisaged for a permanent member of the Security Council to be a perpetrator of its own ethos and rules. Lavrov is as toxic as Putin and should also be held accountable by the ICC.

  • Stephen Paul says:

    Edited version:
    Better late than never but why has it taken the UN so long to state the blindingly obvious. The UN charter is broken. It never envisaged for a permanent member of the Security Council to be a perpetrator of its own ethos and rules and mandate. Lavrov is as toxic as Putin and should also be held accountable by the ICC.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    From what is transpiring there at the moment, it is clear that the UN Security Council is not really effective any more. Therefore I propose the formation of a new international organisation comprising three main organisations, each with one vote, but NO veto’s (because it is the veto’s of the 5 superpowers that is causing the UN-SC to not be effective any more); the western countries represented by the US, the BRICS countries represented by China, and the movement of non-aligned countries that will have the third vote. Two votes out of the three will overrule the other vote. I believe that both the USA and China need stability in the international political arena which is busy falling apart because of the outdated system of veto’s (which is not going to change), and the non-aligned countries mostly only share the need to not be dominated by the military power of the superpowers. This will give the best deal for everyone. The UN can then still operate because it serves as a useful debating tool between countries, and the UN-SC will also still operate, but I foresee that it will become redundant and stop functioning, effectively having been succeeded by the new proposed organisation. As regards the nuclear arsenal of Russia, I believe that the USA and China together has the capability to constrain Russia, even to the point where they have the capability to neutralise the said Russian nuclear arsenal in-sutu, without using nuclear themselves, if Russia does not conform.

  • David Crossley says:

    Isn’t it time that Russia was simply expelled from the UN. After all, will any sane government ever trust Russia again after what Putin and his cronies have prepetrated.
    They should certainly not have the privilege of a veto in the Security Council.

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