KYIV, April 1, Reuters Russia, whose leader is accused of war crimes, assumed charge of the UN Security Council on Saturday, causing fury in Ukraine, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calling it an absurd and destructive move.
The last time Russia held the rotating presidency of the body responsible for maintaining peace and combating acts of international aggression was in February 2022 when Moscow troops launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
In his daily video address, Zelenskyy said Russian shelling had killed a five-month-old boy on Friday.
Russia is chairing the UN Security Council at the same time. He said it is hard to imagine anything that proves the total bankruptcy of such institutions.
The presidency rotates alphabetically among the 15 members each month. The Kremlin and other Russian officials vowed to exercise all of its rights in the role, even though it is largely procedural.
The United States on Thursday urged Russia to conduct itself professionally when it takes over the role, saying there was no way to block Moscow from the post.
In March, the International Criminal Court, ICC, an international justice body not associated with the UN, issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin and his commissioner for children rights, accusing them of the war crime of deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Russia's presidency of the Security Council a slap in the face of the international community. Zelenskyy said it was time for a general overhaul of global institutions, including the Security Council.
Reform is necessary to prevent a terrorist state and any other state from destroying the peace, he said.
Some 400 days into the war, which has killed thousands and destroyed millions of civilians, Russia continues to take over parts of the country, pressing on with its attack in the east, and has set millions of civilians to flight.
Andriy Yermak, Zelenskyy advisor, hit Iran earlier, which Kyiv and its allies accuse of providing Russia with arms. Tehran denies it is giving weapons to Russia.
It is very telling that on the holiday of one terror state Iran another terror state Russia begins to preside over the UN Security Council, Yermak wrote on Twitter, referring to Iran's Islamic Republic Day holiday.