The UN secretary general shouldn’t try to influence the stance of the organization’s members, Russia’s delegation to the United Nations pointed out on Thursday, after Antonio Guterres branded the referendums in Donbass, and Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions as illegal.
Guterres claimed that the referendums, in which people overwhelmingly voted to join Russia, “can’t be called a genuine expression of the popular will” as they were held in areas “under Russian occupation.” He described the upcoming accession procedure of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the self-proclaimed states of Kherson and Zaporozhye as “a process of annexation of the Ukrainian regions.” The move by Moscow “cannot be reconciled with the international legal framework” as the UN Charter and the Friendly Relations Declaration of 1970 outlaw territorial acquisition “resulting from the threat or use of force,” the secretary general said.
The UN’s principal document identifies the secretary general as the “Chief administrative officer of the Organization,” it reminded in a statement. “Administrative functions do not give the secretary general the right to make political statements on behalf of the UN as a whole – as it belongs to its member states – let alone to single-handedly deliver interpretation of the norms of the Charter and the documents of the General Assembly.”
The UN Charter also says that the secretary general and the secretariat should always act in an unbiased manner and “refrain from any action, which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization,” the Russian diplomats added.
However, when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, Guterres has been “consistently demonstrating the same selective approach as the countries of the collective West, literally putting himself in the lineup with them,” the statement read.
Instead of acting in line with his duties, the secretary general “chose to be instrumental in influencing the position of UN member states ahead of the anticipated initiation by the Western countries of the discussion of the issue of referenda,” Russia’s mission insisted.
Ukraine and its backers in the US and the EU have labeled the referendums a “sham,” vowing not to recognize their results and promising to slap more sanctions on Russia if it accepts new territories.