Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on 24 February almost immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Serhiy Kyslytsia, Ukraine’s permanent representative to the UN, raised an important question of how legally Russia has become a member of the UN Security Council instead of the USSR. This issue was largely ignored in the press amid the war that Russia has unleashed.
The diplomat believes that Russia’s membership in the UN and its permanent membership in the UN’s Security Council is illegal because the UN doesn’t have documents on Russia’s admission to the organization.
Serhiy Kyslytsia reminded that Ukraine had been trying for a long time to obtain documents from the Secretariat on how Russia joined the UN Security Council, to no avail, and called on the Secretary-General to disseminate them now,
“Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Statute states: ‘The admission of any such State to membership of the United Nations shall be by decision of the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.‘
Please instruct the Secretariat to circulate to the members of the Security Council and to the members of the General Assembly the decision of the Security Council of December 1991, which recommends that the Russian Federation be a member of this Organization; as well as the decision of the UN General Assembly of 1991, where the GA welcomes the Russian Federation to this Organization.
It would be a wonder if the Secretariat could demonstrate these decisions. There is nothing in the UN Charter about continuity as an insidious way to get to the members of the Organization,” the Ukrainian ambassador said.
In the first hour of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Serhiy Kyslytsia stressed that Russia has already launched a large-scale attack on Ukraine and reminded that the UN Charter requires peace of mind from the members of the organization and readiness to fulfill the obligations enshrined in the UN Charter.
“When I came here an hour ago, I wanted to ask the representative of the Russian Federation to confirm under record that Russian troops will not start shooting at Ukrainians today and will not go on the offensive. It no longer makes sense. Because 48 minutes ago your president declared war on Ukraine.”
He stressed that Russia should resign as president of the UN Security Council and called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council to end the war immediately.
“I urge all of you to do everything possible to stop the war. War criminals do not get into purgatory, Ambassador, they end up in hell!” said Mr. Kyslytsia, addressing the Russian representative.
Earlier Serhiy Kyslytsia commented to European Pravda,
“Let’s say there that, with certainty, that according to the documents, it is still not the Russian Federation, but… the Soviet Union that is a permanent member of the Security Council (namely, this status gives the right to veto). However, in 1991, in an attempt to secure Russia’s nuclear and military capabilities, the UNSC decided to turn a blind eye to the organization’s violation of its charter and allow Russia to sit at the table — which, however, has not yet made its membership legal. It must also be acknowledged that until recently, this violation was tolerated by Ukraine.”
The UN Charter was signed by 51 founding states, among which were the Ukrainian SSR, the Belarusian SSR, and the USSR. Yet the RSFSR, i.e. Soviet Russia, didn’t sign it, although at that time Russia had its Ministry of Foreign Affairs separate from the Soviet Union’s one.
Russia has been accused of systematically abusing its veto right in the UNSC to cover up mass atrocities in its own interest.
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