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UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine Review: Abstaining Romance and Plenty of Hot Air

Participating members in this UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine attempt their best with this bland, shallow and awkwardly structured meeting, which can be characterised in 6 words: “Too late”, “nothing new” and “bad directing”.
Photo by the UN-aligned design team.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been mounting for weeks now and for some reason, everyone expected that this particular Security Council session would narrow the wide divide between Russia and the so-called West. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being pessimistic, but it is a fool who watches the same episode and expects a different ending. Here are three of the main sides of the argument presented during the Council meeting. 

Linda Thomas Greenfield

UN Security Council member: Linda the rational

Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on the emergency debate on US’ behalf as part of a campaign to fend off another Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She did not mince her words: “The situation we are facing in Europe is urgent and dangerous. Russia’s actions strike at the very heart of the UN charter.” 

“If Russia further invades Ukraine, none of us will be able to say we didn’t see it coming. And the consequences will be horrific, which is why this meeting is so important today. We seek the path of peace. We seek the path of dialogue. We do not want confrontation. But we will be decisive, swift and united should Russia further invade Ukraine”, she said. 

It’s great to see Linda Thomas-Greenfield in the character of a sensible and sane role. She spoke well, acted great and clearly enjoyed playing her part. It’s always wonderful to see the US not casted in the role of the villain.

Vassily Nebenzia

UN Security Council member: Vassily the whataboutist

In response, Vassily Nebenzia, who sometimes seems as if he is suffering from momentary dementia, said: “We just don’t understand what we are discussing here today and why we are indeed here”. 

Russia objected to having the meeting at all and called it “an attempt to mislead the international community” and called the debate “megaphone diplomacy”. 

As luck would have it, Russia takes over the council’s rotating presidency for February. And although this is largely an administrative role, it does allow Russia to delay any attempts by council members to request another discussion on actions by, wait for it, Russia. 

Vassily continued, “there’s no proof to confirm these serious accusations” of a move towards war, adding that they constitute “a provocation in itself”.

“If our western partners push Kyiv to sabotage the Minsk agreements, something that Ukraine is … willingly doing, then that might end in the absolute worst way for Ukraine, and not because somebody has destroyed it, but because it would have destroyed itself and Russia has absolutely nothing to do with this.”

Destroyed itself? What? And Russia will have nothing to do with this?

I did say that Vassily was acting a bit forgetful at times, but here he is clearly losing interest and blabbering nonsense. One wonders if this is bad acting or a pathetic manoeuvre. Who knows, probably both.

According to US and NATO officials, Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops and military equipment, including tanks and rocket launchers, along Ukraine’s borders with Russia, Belarus and Moldova. Of course, NATO has also prepared its own troops in Belarus and Ukraine in the scenario of another invasion. 

Sergiy Kyslytsya

UN Security Council guest: Sergiy the sceptic

Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s representative, addressed the Russian demand that Ukraine should be barred from becoming a member of NATO, noting his country’s sovereign right to choose its own security arrangements.

“Ukraine will not bow to threats aimed at weakening Ukraine, undermining its economic and financial stability and inciting public frustration. This will not happen, and the Kremlin must remember that Ukraine is ready to defend itself”, he concluded. 

And Finally, the ending…

Don’t worry, there are no spoilers (there never are).

Well, everyone just spoke and left. That’s it. This is what passes as “high-level diplomacy” at the United Nations Security Council. 

Once again, we are right on the brink of another war and the only institution that can prevent it is either at best powerless or at worst, a participating member. 

However, before giving this episode the final score, I would like to award Gabon, India and Kenya with the Cowards Award of the week. When we are on the brink of war these three countries prefer to abstain, bury their heads in sand and fiddle as, this time, Kyiv burns to the ground.

This episode earns 1.5 out of 5.

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