Russia and the U.N. Security Council

Ukraine’s foreign ministry called yesterday for the removal of Russia from the U.N. Security Council and from the U.N. as a whole. This isn’t anything new. Chief Justice Pavel Rychetský of the Czech Constitutional Court called on Feb. 26 for Russia to be excluded or suspended from all international organizations, and ex-PM Mirek Topolánek called a month later for Russia to be thrown out of the Security Council. What was more remarkable yesterday was Ukraine’s statement that Russia “illegally occupies the seat of the U.S.S.R. in the U.N. Security Council.” This legal argument was explained in detail as early as 1992 by Yehuda Z. Blum of the Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem. Even before that, though, on Dec. 25, 1991, U.S. Pres. George H.W. Bush announced that his country “will support Russia’s assumption of the U.S.S.R.’s seat as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.” The nuclear powers might at times bicker and fight, but on key issues they stand together.

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