Estonia's UN ambassador: We are trying to isolate Russia politically
Over 140 countries have pledged their support to a UN resolution calling on Russia to end its war on Ukraine and to withdraw from Ukrainian territory, ERR's North America correspondent reports.
Only seven countries voted against the resolution. At the same time, the work of the UN Security Council is still paralyzed in relation to Ukraine, since the Russian Federation is a permanent member, and there are no current signs of that changing.
On the anniversary of the start of the full-scale war, February 24 – also independence day in Estonia – the Ukrainian flag was hoisted up the flagpole in another part of Manhattan, namely at the historic Bowling Green public park.
ERR drew a parallel between Russia and Ukraine's struggle and Great Britain and the revolution/war of independence, stating that around 240 years earlier George Washington had watched from the same site, as the last occupying British soldiers left New York.
Around 20 people, most of them with Ukrainian roots, gathered at the early morning memorial ceremony in New York. Political commentator and community leader Andrij Dobriansky said he had observed no sense that American support for Ukraine has dried up recently.
"Those few and far between that we see on the internet, maybe saying that we shouldn't be supporting [Ukraine], they're actually such a small part of what it is here in America," Dobriansky said.
The most important point is to continue pressuring the UN in New York, who should think seriously about reforming the UNSC, Dobriansky went on.
Critics have been stressing for the past year that the UN, and especially the UNSC, cannot achieve anything concrete on the matter, in its current set-up.
Dobriansky told ERR that: "Until we fix the makeup of the security council and recognize that the UN charter says that membership is open to peace loving states, then I don't know if we can do anything for the security council."
Rein Tammsaar, Estonia's ambassador to the UN, said: "There is a demonstration going on right here saying that Russia could be kicked out of the UNSC, but there are no practical measures on how this might happen, and I don't see this happening."
"In terms of security reform, this has been given a new lease of life as it is clear that if things continue in this way, conflicts might grow to the extent that one of the most important world organizations will be toothless to resolve this," Dobriansky continued.
This need not mean that the entire UN's work is paralyzed in relation to Ukraine, Tammsaar went on.
The UN General Assembly has passed several resolutions condemning the aggression, while humanitarian aid is also provided to Ukrainians, plus about 20 UN sub-organizations are present in-country, ERR reports.
"It is also clear that the confrontation here is continuous. What we are trying to do is to ensure Russia's political isolation in various international organizations, but primarily at UN level," Tammsaar said.
According to Tammsaar, this has met with some success, but Russia's candidacy for various UN bodies should be barred in future, he said.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming