Addressing the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged leaders to suspend Russia’s veto power that has prevented the council from responding to the Kremlin’s war against Kyiv. The Hill reports that Zelensky has proposed eliminating the obstacle posed by the Security Council’s veto by empowering the General Assembly with votes, which has condemned Russia’s invasion and called for the withdrawal of troops.
Criticizing the U.N.’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Zelensky said “We should recognize that the U.N. finds itself in a deadlock on the matters of aggression. Humankind no longer pins its hopes on the U.N.,” adding that “Ukrainian soldiers now are doing at the expense of their blood what the U.N. Security Council should do by its voting; they’re stopping Russia and upholding the principles of the U.N.”
Zelensky further proposed expanding the Security Council, a measure backed by the United States and other nations. The problem with such a proposal is that there is no consensus on the best way to expand the council. Currently, there are five permanent members on the council, including Russia, and seats for 10 non-permanent members on the council who are elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
According to The Hill, “The Kremlin’s U.N. ambassador has used the power to reject any resolution that seeks to condemn Moscow or impose costs for its invasion of Ukraine — from its 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea to its full-scale invasion in February 2022.”
Zelensky warned that there will be empty seats in the General Assembly Hall as he argues Russia will not stop its campaign of aggression with Ukraine. Zelensky will meet with President Biden and members of Congress to rally more support for his country in pushing back against Russia’s aggression.