Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy blasts Russia’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council as ‘absurd’ and says it shows ‘the complete bankruptcy of such institutions’

  • Zelenskyy on Saturday sharply criticized Russia’s monthlong chairmanship of the UN Security Council.
  • “It is hard to imagine something evident that proves the complete bankruptcy of such institutions,” he said.
  • Zelenskyy has called for reforms that would bar Russia’s ability to take the helm of the council.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday sharply criticized Russia’s chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council as “absurd and destructive” and said that the development highlighted “the complete bankruptcy of international institutions.”

Russia is a permanent member of the council, composed of 15 total members; they each assume the council’s presidency on a rotating schedule for a month at a time. Zelenskyy decried the move as Russia is slated to preside over an upcoming council meeting Monday for the first time since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

“Unfortunately, we … have news that is obviously absurd and destructive,” Zelenskyy said during an address on Saturday. “Today, the terrorist state began to chair the UN Security Council.” 

“Yesterday, the Russian army killed another Ukrainian child — a five-month-old boy named Danylo. And at the same time, Russia chairs the UN Security Council. It is hard to imagine something evident that proves the complete bankruptcy of such institutions,” he continued.

The council is responsible for sustaining international peace and security, and Russia helming the body as its leaders in Moscow continue to launch aggressive attacks on Ukraine is a source of frustration for Zelenskyy’s government.

As a permanent member, Russia has veto power on council resolutions. The other four permanent members include the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and France, who also wield veto power on the council.

Zelenskyy last year called on the council to either take decisive action for peace after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or “dissolve yourselves altogether.”

“Are you ready to close the United Nations? Do you think that the time for international law is gone?” he asked at the time. “We are dealing with a state that is turning the veto of the United Nations Security Council into the right to die.”

Russia presiding over the council comes after the International Criminal Court in March issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes. Putin has been accused by the court of abducting Ukrainian children and sending them to Russia.

Zelenskyy on Saturday pressed for reforms on the council that would block Russia from having an ability to lead the body.

“There is no such form of terror that has not yet been committed by Russia,” he said. “And there will be no such reason that will stop the reform of global institutions, in particular, the UN Security Council. The reform that is clearly overdue — so that a terrorist state and any other state that wants to be a terrorist cannot disrupt the peace.”