Truss: Russia using UN security council veto as green light for barbarism

Russia’s position as one of five veto-wielding members has limited the security council’s ability to censure Vladimir Putin’s regime.

St Basil’s Cathedral, in Moscow’s Red Square (Ian NIcholson/PA)
St Basil’s Cathedral, in Moscow’s Red Square (Ian NIcholson/PA)

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has raised fresh concerns over Russia’s permanent member status of the United Nations security council.

Ms Truss went on to accuse Russia of using its power to veto decisions of the body as a “green light for barbarism” in Ukraine.

Russia’s position as one of five veto-wielding members has limited the security council’s ability to censure Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Conservative MP Nickie Aiken (Cities of London and Westminster) raised the use of rape as a “weapon of war which the Russians seem to be using”.

She asked: “Does (she) agree with me that as the UN’s charter mandate is to maintain international peace and security, perhaps it is time that the international community questioned whether Russia should remain a permanent member of the security council?”

Ms Truss replied: “The security council does have a role to play, under our presidency we have used it to call out Russia’s lies.

“We have also hosted President (Volodymyr) Zelensky to speak to the council.

“But she is also right that we do have concerns about an international security architecture that has Russia as one of the permanent members of the security council and they have used their veto as a green light for barbarism and part of our response has been working more closely with allies like the G7, allies like Nato because we simply haven’t seen enough taking place at a UN level.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (Victoria Jones/PA)

For Labour, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy called on Ms Truss to commit to asking India to oppose Russian President Mr Putin’s “barbaric” war.

Mr Lammy said: “India is one country which has so far stayed neutral.

“The Prime Minister spent last week in India, but No 10 admitted that the Prime Minister failed to even mention India’s neutrality in his meeting with President (Narendra) Modi.

“This follows the Foreign Secretary’s own failed trip to India where she failed to demonstrate any progress in bringing India into the international coalition condemning Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.”

Ms Truss replied: “Of course I have discussed the issue of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine with the Indian government.

“But if (Mr Lammy) thinks the right approach for Britain is to go around finger wagging to the rest of the world rather than working to build strong relationships and partnerships to attract India and others to work more closely with us, he is completely wrong.

“On both my visit and the Prime Minister’s visit we’ve succeeded in moving forward our relationships on trade, on investment, on defence, generating jobs in Britain, generating jobs in India, with the ultimate goal of working more closely together as fellow democracies and moving away from dependence on authoritarian regimes.

“The fact is (Mr Lammy) prefers gesture politics to actually getting things done.”

Conservative former minister Robert Jenrick asked if ministers have raised the cases of Aiden Aslin, who is originally from his Nottinghamshire constituency of Newark, and Shaun Pinner with their Ukrainian and Russian counterparts.

He said: “These two British citizens continue to be held in captivity and to be tortured and abused for propaganda purposes by the Russian military.”

Mr Jenrick added: “We want to see these individuals released as soon as possible.”

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly replied: “I have discussed the issue of foreign volunteer fighters with the Ukrainian government.

“They are clear, we are clear that those fighting under the Ukrainian flag for the Ukrainian armed forces in the defence of Ukraine should be treated as Ukrainian military and treated as prisoners of war, with all the protections that international humanitarian law accords to those individuals.”

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