(Kyiv) Russia took over the presidency of the UN Security Council on Saturday for the whole month of April, “a slap in the face of the international community” for Ukraine and “an April Fool’s joke for Westerners.

“Russia’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council is a slap in the face of the international community,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba tweeted.

According to him, the “current members” of the UN’s executive body must “thwart any attempt” by Russia to “abuse its presidency”.

On Thursday, Kouleba had already called this Russian presidency a “bad joke”, saying that “Russia has usurped its seat; it is waging a colonial war; its president is a war criminal wanted by the International Criminal Court for child abduction”.

These criticisms from Kyiv, however, did not prevent Moscow from ensuring that its delegation to the UN this month, to succeed Mozambique, would be led by the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov.

“Another key event of the Russian presidency will be the high-level open debate of the (Security) Council on “Effective multilateralism through the defense of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”. This meeting will be chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov,” his spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, even told reporters on Thursday.

She pointed out that Mr. Lavrov also planned to chair a session of debates on the Middle East on April 25.

Kyiv’s diplomatic backers, primarily the United States, quickly rose up against such a position.

“We expect Russia to continue to use its headquarters to spread misinformation and try to distract from its attempts to justify its actions in Ukraine and the war crimes that members of its armed forces are committing. “commented Thursday the spokeswoman for the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre.

“A country that flagrantly violates the UN Charter and invades its neighbor has no place in the Security Council,” she said.

The Baltic countries, other important supporters of Kyiv and strongly opposed to Moscow, spoke on Saturday of “April Fool’s Day”.

“April Fool’s Day is a perfect day” for Russia, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry quipped. “Russia, which is waging a brutal war on Ukraine, can only lead the ‘Council of Insecurity’.”

For its part, the Estonian diplomatic mission to the UN has found it “shameful and humiliating” that the United Nations Security Council is led by Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin is “a war criminal with an arrest warrant. standing of the ICC”.

At the UN, Russia says it faces the “collective West”, which has ostracized it from world nations since the launch of its military offensive in Ukraine in February 2022.

The Russian presidency at the United Nations comes a week after Vladimir Putin announced that he wanted to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, his only European diplomatic ally, reinforcing Western fears.