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Ukraine Vows To Challenge Russia During Stint On UN Council

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin addresses the UN Security Council in July
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin addresses the UN Security Council in July

Ukraine is expected to win a seat on the UN Security Council in an October 15 vote and is vowing to stand up to Russia, which has used its veto power to wage a strategic tug-of-war with Ukraine and the West.

Ukraine has no opposition so far for the Eastern European seat on the council. It says it is committed to maintaining global peace and security by challenging the clout of its powerful neighbor, Russia, which is a permanent member of the 15-country United Nations decision-making body.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who traveled to New York to campaign for his country's election, said that Ukraine has a broader global agenda but that its tone with Russia will "definitely not be conciliatory."

"For the first time, we have an absolutely unique, unimaginable situation...that a permanent member of the UN Security Council is an aggressor in Ukraine, waging a hybrid war against Ukraine," Klimkin said.

He indicated Ukraine foresees gradually limiting and eventually abolishing the right to veto on the council, which is held by permanent members Russia, Britain, China, France, and the United States.

"Abuse of the veto right -- its usage as a 'license to kill' -- is unacceptable," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told the UN in September.

France also wants to limit the use of the veto. It has sought to persuade the other four permanent members not to use their veto when action is required to address a mass atrocity.

Russia has vetoed two resolutions on Ukraine -- one affirming Crimea as part of Ukraine and one aiming to set up an international criminal tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

Richard Gowan, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations focusing on the UN, told the German dpa news agency that despite Ukraine's vow to fight Russia, the country will not radically change the dynamics on the council.

Lithuania, which currently represents Eastern Europe, has already harshly criticized Russia over Ukraine.

He noted that despite scathing comments from other Security Council members over the Ukraine conflict, Russia has largely ignored the criticism, which Ukraine's presence will not change.

"I foresee some token diplomatic fireworks from the Ukrainians, but no real change to how the council functions," he said.

During the vote October 14, UN member states will select five nonpermanent members to sit on the Security Council in 2016 and 2017. Candidates will need to get approval from two-thirds of the UN's 193 member countries to win a seat.

Currently, five countries have announced their candidacies for five positions that are becoming vacant at the end of the year: Egypt and Senegal from the African regional group, Japan to represent Asia-Pacific, Uruguay from Latin America, and Ukraine to represent Eastern Europe.

While all countries are running seemingly unopposed, the requirement for a two-thirds majority makes the outcome of the elections somewhat uncertain.

The newcomers will begin their two-year stint on January 1, replacing Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, and Nigeria.

With reporting by dpa, AFP, and AP
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