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Zelensky reiterates call for UN Security Council reforms on UN Day

by Rachel Amran and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 25, 2023 1:44 AM 2 min read
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the U.N. Security Council on the war in his country in a meeting during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Sept. 20, 2023, in New York City. (Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reemphasized the need for UN Security Council reforms on UN Day, which commemorates the UN Charter's entry into force on Oct. 24, 1945.

During President Zelensky's visit to the UN last month, he proposed several reforms to the UN Security Council, including restrictions on the veto powers of its permanent members, arguing that Russia has been abusing its veto rights.

The President suggested the UN General Assembly would be able to overcome the veto with two-thirds of the votes, "which will reflect the will of the nations from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Pacific Ocean region."

Ukraine's head of state posted a short statement on Twitter outlining three of Ukraine's proposed reforms to the UN Security Council, from veto reform, to expanding the number of seats on the UN Security Council, as well as "guarantees of collective security."

The UN has failed to help Ukraine and Russia broker a renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and Ukraine is instead operating a humanitarian corridor to bypass Russia's de facto blockade.

Last month, the UN's top trade chief told Reuters that the corridor is a move in the right direction, but should not replace a larger deal to resume shipping through the Black Sea.

After Russia unilaterally backed out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2023, the shipment of grain through the Black Sea effectively stopped until Ukraine announced the opening of a temporary corridor on Aug. 10.

The corridor was primarily meant to allow passage for ships stuck in the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdennyi since the start of the full-scale invasion.

The route is not without risk to those who use it. The Russian Defense Ministry has said that all vessels sailing to Ukrainian ports would be considered "potential carriers of military cargo" and, therefore, legitimate targets.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sept. 23 that renewing the grain deal was not off the table, but rejected recent proposals by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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