Russia should lose UN Security Council seat, European Council president says

Charles Michel calls for Russia to be suspended from the Security Council

President of the European Council Charles Michel at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2022 in New York City. AFP
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Russia should be suspended from the UN Security Council for going to war in Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel told the UN General Assembly on Friday.

"When a permanent member of the Security Council launches an unprovoked and unjustifiable war ... which is condemned by the General Assembly, that warrants suspension from the Security Council," Mr Michel said.

"That, in my view, should be automatic.”

Mr Michel is the former prime minister of Belgium and has headed the European Council, which decides the European Union's overall political priorities, since 2019.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has led to renewed calls for an overhaul of the Security Council, where five permanent member states — the US, UK, China, Russia and France — have veto power.

Russia has used its veto to hobble any actions the Security Council could have taken to prevent or condemn the war.

The seven-month conflict is playing a dominant role at the annual gathering of world leaders in New York.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday defended his country’s invasion and lambasted western nations for their support of Ukraine. He accused the West of "Russophobia" and said Moscow is fighting "neo-Nazi formations in the Kyiv regime".

The conflict has destabilised Europe and exposed its energy dependence on Russia.

Facing setbacks on the battlefield, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called up 300,000 reservists and taken to issuing increasingly ominous threats of nuclear war.

"The Kremlin launched a war against the Ukrainian people and hundreds of millions of women and children are thus targeted throughout the world," Mr Michel said.

“They are threatened with famine and they are left without heat, and they are crushed by the energy prices.”

He lambasted Russia for the “poisonous lies” it has used to justify the invasion, which has brought a scale of violence and destruction not seen in Europe since the Second World War.

“We cannot allow the destructive actions of one of us to imperil our common fierce determination to act for the common good,” Mr Michel said.

Updated: September 23, 2022, 6:14 PM
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