Sergei Lavrov is one of the best diplomats in the world.
It was he who, after insisting that Russia would never invade Ukraine, said they weren’t. He made an audience in Delhi laugh last month when he claimed that Ukraine had started the war with Russia.
Today, the Jedi Master of the dark arts in Russian diplomacy will address the UNSecurity Council. Russia is currently holding the presidency of the council for one month. Ukraine has called it a “bad April Fool’s Joke”.
Lavrov, who is known as a diplomat bruiser, cajoles or bullies others when he feels like it. Many of his Western counterparts held him in high regard, even if reluctantly, before the beginning of this war.
Without any irony, his aides claim that the session will discuss ways to defend the principles of UN Charter, through which Russia, with its unprovoked attack on Ukraine, has driven a cavalry, and an entire fleet of carriages.
The attack by the neighbouring country is inconsistent with nearly every article of the Charter, including this line from Article 4:
Lavrov isn’t really interested in this.
He wants to use his UN platform to promote the case of his country for the war, and to try and win the support or at least the acquiescence of nations that are still on the fence about it. Whether they abstain from UN votes or help and abet attempts to circumvent sanctions, or whether they aid and abet.
Diplomats for Mr Lavrov say that he will discuss “the formation a new multipolar order based upon sovereign equality, equal right and self-determination”.
It’s a little rich, given what Russia did to Ukraine and Vladimir Putin insisting that Ukraine has no sovereign rights to exist.
Lavrov believes that the multipolar aspect will be most persuasive.
Russia and China are adamant that it’s time to replace America as the dominant power in post-war global order.
The Western intervention in Iraq, Libya and other countries is cited as examples.
Critics claim that these claims are hollow. If Russia truly wants a multipolar world, the UN would be a good place to begin. Yet Moscow has been acting with a wanton disregard of its principles for over a decade.
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the Russian presidency of the UN Security Council makes a mockery of both the United Nations mission and the United Nations itself. It also provides its diplomats with the perfect platform from which to continue their efforts in tearing countries apart from the consensus regarding Ukraine.
In February, when its forces invaded Ukraine, Russia was the last country to hold the UN Security Council Presidency. The moment the invasion started, its diplomats presided over a live session in the Security Council.
Many people, then as now, used this moment to reiterate their call for reform of the UN.