[guest post by Dana]
Russia remains a member of a few exclusive international bodies despite their continuing and unwarranted slaughter of Ukrainians. High-level discussions ensue regarding the appropriateness of allowing their continued membership:
The United States and its Western allies are assessing whether Russia should remain within the Group of Twenty (G20) grouping of major economies following its invasion of Ukraine, sources involved in the discussions told Reuters on Tuesday.
The likelihood that any bid to exclude Russia outright would be vetoed by others in the club – which includes China, India, Saudi Arabia and others – raised the prospect of some countries instead skipping G20 meetings this year, the sources said.
Russia is facing an onslaught of international sanctions led by Western nations aiming to isolate it from the global economy, including notably shutting it out of the SWIFT global bank messaging system and restricting dealings by its central bank.
“There have been discussions about whether it’s appropriate for Russia to be part of the G20,” said a senior G7 source. “If Russia remains a member, it will become a less useful organization.”
Asked whether U.S. President Joe Biden would move to push Russia out of the G20 when he meets with allies in Brussels this week, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House Tuesday: “We believe that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in international institutions and in the international community.”
Additionally, the Russian Federation continues to be a member of the United Nations. Since the invasion, there have been calls to expel them. However, there seems to be some disagreement about the wisdom or ability to do that:
“The UN is a political body. It is not a church. Ultimately, the UN is there as a place where states…can talk to each other in the last resort,” said Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group. Gowen said expelling Russia would be “effectively impossible,” and added that it might even be counterproductive.
“I worry that if you shove Russia out, if you could find a way to shove Russia out, you just have Russia on the outside trying to undercut even these minimal forms of cooperation,” he said.
Brett Schaefer, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, offers a countering view:
“The UN General Assembly is not a very powerful body” but it “does have authority over its own procedures and over the bodies that it creates,” Schaefer said. “The fact that no one seems to be very eager to suspend or lead an effort to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council considering the human rights abuses in the current conflict is vastly disappointing.”
Removing Russia from the Human Rights Council is one way of censuring Moscow for its actions; Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested it on Tuesday. The council could vote to remove Russia over its human rights abuses and targeting of civilian areas in Ukraine, similar to how it voted in 2011 to remove Libya from the panel. This step, which would require a two-thirds majority vote, is “the most promising formal slap available,” the ICG’s Gowan said.
“It’s pretty morally obvious it should be done,” he said. “It would also send a sort of clear political signal that would be good.”
Unbelievably Believably, Russia remains on the UN Human Rights Council . Four weeks ago, 32 countries voted for a resolution presented by Ukraine to “to establish a commission to investigate violations committed during Russia’s military attack on Ukraine”:
The resolution calls for the “swift and verifiable” withdrawal of Russian troops and Russian-backed armed groups from Ukraine and urges safe and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need.
The independent international Commission of Inquiry will have a mandate that includes investigating all alleged rights violations and abuses, and related crimes, and making recommendations on accountability measures.
So, while various officials dither over whether an expulsion or sanction of Russia is justifiable or appropriate, here is some of what is currently taking place in Ukraine at the hands of Russia:
This is Putin’s Hell on earth.
In Mariupol, “witnesses depicted post-apocalyptic scenes of stray dogs eating the remains of bombing victims who lay unburied on the street. Civilian casualties have been placed in mass graves…”
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) March 21, 2022
⚡️Russian war kills 121 Ukrainian children since Feb. 24.
Additionally, 167 children have been injured, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 23, 2022
Pleaing to international bodies to help desperate Ukrainian orphans trapped in Putin’s war:
Among the millions of children still in Ukraine there are up to 100,000 orphans housed in nearly 700 childrens homes, according to Save the Children. Half the orphans are said to be disabled. These children are at increased risk of exploitation, abuse, neglect, and human trafficking. Only a few thousand of them have been evacuated so far and there are concerns that these children will be left behind. They need our urgent assistance with evacuation and with finding them a home.
We urge the government to work with other countries and international bodies such as the UN and the Council of Europe to ensure that these children are evacuated and given help, and to prevent any risk of them being trafficked.
According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Russian forces have illegally removed 2,389 Ukrainian children from Donetsk and Luhanks oblasts to Russia. This is not assistance. It is kidnapping.
— U.S. Embassy Kyiv (@USEmbassyKyiv) March 22, 2022
Video: Azov pic.twitter.com/RUZaKer3bS
— Stratcom Centre UA (@StratcomCentre) March 23, 2022
Update: President Biden is currently in Europe meeting with our allies, and reportedly will put new sanctions on Russia, as well as look at other options to further isolate and weaken the country.