Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 27.09.2018
The United Nations has a fatal flaw. In 1991, Muscovy was allowed to call itself the “Russian Federation” and to usurp the Security Council seat that properly belonged only to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Illegitimately holding a permanent, veto-wielding seat on the Security Council, Russia started a war against Georgia in 2008 and a war against Ukraine in 2014. The United Nations Organization that was meant to secure the peace after the Second World War has become a forum for silent, tacit consent to Russian aggression.
On the afternoon of September 26 in New York City, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, addressed the United Nations General Assembly at the commencement of its 73rd session. He pointed his fellow members to the fatal flaw at the heart of the UN, which is the illegitimately-held veto that is wielded by aggressor Russia as an instrument war. “What shall we do if a veto-holding member of the Security Council uses this right not to help international peace and stability, but to help itself to escape from responsibility? It is time to say that abuse of the veto right is a break that often does not allow our organization to really act,” said President Poroshenko.
The UN was founded to prevent war but it has failed in its mission. The UN has done nothing to stop Russia’s war against Ukraine. President Poroshenko quoted the preamble to the UN Charter when he said: “We shall never forget that the raison d’être of this organisation is to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. Madame President, unfortunately my fellow citizens have become part of the one-fifth of the world’s population that has experienced the horrors of war.”
It is vitally important that President Poroshenko told the truth to the UN General Assembly delegates. The “conflict in Ukraine” is in fact a war by Russia against Ukraine. Ukrainians suffer from the scourge of war every day. “Yesterday and the day before several families again were struck by grief as their loved ones perished under Russia’s hostile attacks. Moscow turns Ukrainians into orphans, it tortures our patriots in its prisons, and over 1 1/2 million people became internally displaced persons – they still cannot return to their homes,” was what President Poroshenko told the UN General Assembly.
“Russia continuously multiplies the human tragedy, which lately received a new dimension: ecological. It poisons the Ukrainian soil and caused an environmental disaster not only in the occupied Crimea but in Donbas as well.” Here, President Poroshenko was referring to the ecological catastrophe at Armyansk, Crimea, Ukraine (Russian-occupied) where a massive toxic release of acid occurred, and to the flooding of mines and shelling of chemical containment ponds in Russian-occupied Donbas which has contaminated the groundwater. Human health and the environment are harmed immeasurably by Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Russia has been found by the UN to be an systemic abuser of human rights. President Poroshenko gave the examples of Volodymyr Balukh and Oleg Sentsov, two of the hostages of the Moscow regime who are both engaged in heroic hunger strikes.
Russia has been found by the UN to be a violator of international law and the rules-based international order. The International Court of Justice ordered the Russian Federation to reinstate the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, but – as President Poroshenko reminded his audience – the Moscow regime spits on the ICJ and ignores its rulings.
Russia’s war against Ukraine is unprovoked. President Poroshenko pointed out that Ukraine is a peaceful and democratic country and that any similar UN member could be the next target of Russian aggression. He said: “Ukraine made a sovereign decision to live its own way, to promote the Free World based on democratic values and rules. Russia punished Ukraine for this decision: it kills; it ruins homes; it lies on an industrial scale. It pretends that Ukraine as well as Georgia attacked themselves … attacked themselves. Do we know which neighbour of Russia will attack itself next? Or will the world be comfortably numb in the hope that ‘the next one won’t be me’?”
In a stunning moment of “J’accuse…!” President Poroshenko condemned his peers for the policy of appeasement of Russian aggression which has led to global war, a break-down of the rules-based international order, and the demise of the UN. He said: “How did such a deterioration in world affairs happen? Many assumed that the respect for peace and international law is a constant given. Developments on the international stage over the last decade have seriously undermined this confidence. Appeasement and quick fixes to difficult problems have proven to be a false option. It has been proven that staying comfortably silent when international norms are breached does not stop but encourages the offender to continue its destructive policies. Your silence is exactly what the Kremlin weaponized against Ukraine and ultimately against all of us.”
What appeasement does is guarantee the expansion of Russian imperialist aggression to global war. President Poroshenko said: “Nothing will stop Moscow from continuing its aggressive expansionist policies if it does not face a united stand from the international community, if punishment for its actions does not become inevitable. It is due to the lack of the relevant punishment that after Georgia came Ukraine, after Litvinenko came Skripal, and after Aleppo came Idlib. The Kremlin has no intention to stop.”
Russia’s war against Ukraine and against the West is not ideological. Global war by Muscovy is an act of apocalyptic nihilism. Muscovy does not fight for anything. Muscovy fights against against value, meaning, dignity, and human worth. “This is the thing about today’s Russia: they absolutely don’t care. They don’t care about suffering. They don’t care about the truth. They don’t care about the law. They think that their military might and status in the United Nations gives them this right. It’s up to us to prove them wrong. It’s up to us to make them care. Otherwise, what’s the idea of us being here? Otherwise, what’s the difference between the era before the United Nations and with the United Nations?" Here, President Poroshenko is warning that the world is returning to conditions as they were before there was a United Nations: a world of great power rivalries, wars of imperialist aggression, and “might makes right.”
The United Nations should take Petro Poroshenko’s speech to the General Assembly as a clarion call. Wake up, end the silence, and act to stop Russia’s war against Ukraine.