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Russia will seek expansion of UN Security Council with Asian, African, Latin American countries

June 30, 2023 at 6:10 pm

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow, Russia. [Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Anadolu Agency]

Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said on Friday that Russia will seek the expansion of the UN Security Council with Asian, African and Latin American countries.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Lavrov said the Security Council has to be reformed “in accordance with existing realities”, and the dominance of the Western countries has to be balanced.

“Of the 15 members (permanent and non-permanent), the so-called ‘golden billion’ occupies six seats; this is unfair, unjust. Therefore, we will seek to expand the membership of the Security Council as soon as possible by including the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America,” he stressed.

The time has come to move on to equality, the Minister said, adding that “if everyone is for democracy, then let’s not forget that democracy is also required in international relations.”

Wagner ‘mutiny,’ Black Sea grain deal

Turning to the attempted mutiny of the Wagner paramilitary group, Lavrov urged Western politicians “not to worry” and dubbed the 24 June events as “a trouble, nothing more”.

Wagner mercenary chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has moved to Belarus under a deal brokered by Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, ending the rebellion Prigozhin led against Russia’s military leadership.

The Russian top diplomat said with regard to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Western sanctions made it impossible to export Russian fertilisers and grain via the EU countries.

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Moscow sees no reason to extend the deal that ends on 18 July because the Russian part is not being implemented, and the Ukrainian part, conceived as humanitarian, to help “the poorest countries” has become commercial, he said.

But the top diplomat reassured African countries that they will not suffer in case of the end of the deal, as Russia will supply comparable or larger volumes of grain to “the poorest countries” at its own expense and free of charge.

To support his claims about the “commercial” character of the deal, the Minister cited the UN data, according to which only two vessels per month were leaving Ukraine under the UN World Food Program, while some 90 transported commercial cargo.

On EU concerns about the grain deal termination, Lavrov said: “Instead of expressing concern about global food security, the EU should do things that will really strengthen it.”

Turkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed the agreement in Istanbul last July to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were halted after the Ukraine war in February last year.

The deal has been renewed several times since then, and was extended for another two months on 18 May.

Moscow has linked the inclusion of its state-owned Russian Agricultural Bank in the SWIFT international payment system to further extend the agreement. It has also complained that the deal fails to deliver on a promise to free up Russian agricultural exports that have been blocked due to Western sanctions.

Russia-Ukraine peace talks

Lavrov argued that Russia targets only the military infrastructure of Ukraine, adding that UN reports lack objectivity and show one side only.

The diplomat said the effects of the flooding caused by the Karkhovka dam destruction in Ukraine’s Kherson region are being eliminated and the dam is being restored, which could take some time.

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Asked about comments by US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who said the conflict in Ukraine has to be settled peacefully, Lavrov said this contradicts previous calls to send more weapons to Ukraine for a counter-offensive aimed at defeating Russia.

“This is a schizophrenic situation, when they say that everything will be completed by negotiations, but first we need to defeat Russia … My assessment is that they are trying to temporarily freeze this conflict, achieve some kind of cease-fire and gain time to pump up Ukraine militarily again, create a new military infrastructure,” he said.

Lavrov pledged “to seek justice” after UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, issued a report in which Russia is named as the party guilty of violating the rights of the child on the territory of Ukraine.

The diplomat questioned why the UN top official does not voice any concern about the fate of the Ukrainian children in Europe where they “are taken from parents by force”.

Russia created a special website which has a list of all children evacuated from the war zone for safety reasons, so that their parents can find and return them, he said.

The Minister also voiced concern over Ukraine’s activities around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, noting that Russia released a relevant report in the UN Security Council on possible “provocations”.

Ukrainian officials launched, on Thursday, a major training on the territories around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in case of an emergency, accusing Russia of having malign intentions.

On reports that Ukraine authorised the moving of Orthodox relics from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery to Europe, Lavrov said UNESCO has the authority to sort out the situation because the establishment is recognised as a World Heritage site.

The Minister stressed that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was designated as a UNESCO heritage site “with all its wealth, decoration, finery.”

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He added that Moscow is examining information on Ukrainian artworks being exhibited at the French Louvre Museum, urging reporters to unveil the full story.


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