1 year into war, United Nations is still searching for resolutions

Since Russia invaded Ukraine one year ago, the United Nations has continuously taken steps to stop the violence, but none have worked.
Posted at 9:11 PM, Feb 23, 2023

The war between Russia and Ukraine has tested the United Nations, including its relevancy in today's world.

"The international community will never recognize Russia's attempts to change Ukraine's borders by force," said Linda Thomas Greenfield, U.S. ambassador for the U.N. "No matter how any sham referendums Moscow tries to install, we will continue to defend the U.N.'s charter."

"It's clear that the nations of the world still are trying their best to cooperate and work with each other," said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general. "Any war is divisive, and this one has proven to be no different from others in that regard."

As soon as Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.N. declared the move a violation of its charter, which prohibits invading a sovereign nation. The International Criminal Court almost immediately opened an investigation into potential war crimes. Another investigation opened, then another. Resolution after resolution by the General Assembly has condemned Russia's actions, but with no real change.

The greatest discord continues to be at the Security Council, where Russia holds both veto power and a microphone.

"If the West had forced its subordinates in Kyiv to uphold basic human rights, our special operation would not be needed at all," said Vasily Alekseyevich Nebenzya, Russian ambassador to the U.N.

In 2022, 46 of the Council's meetings were devoted to Ukraine. Yet, while most other member nations spoke out fervently against Russia's actions, Russia was able to stave off any documented criticism with its veto.

U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski speaks with Scripps News correspondent Haley Bull.

US ambassador to Poland: Collective defense is working against Russia

Ambassador Mark Brzezinski said the war in Ukraine has taken a tremendous toll on the region, but collective defense by NATO is achieving its goal.


"Obviously, it's easier to resolve crises when the Security Council can speak with a unified voice on it," Haq said. "What we do need is for all the parts of the international system, including the Security Council, to be able to play their role effectively."

But there have been some bright spots.

The U.N. assisted with a resolution to the standoff at a steel plant in Mariupol and helped with an agreement that allowed ships to go through the Black Sea. That allowed grain and other crops through to market to help stabilize the cost of food prices. Prices had been skyrocketing around the world because of the blockade. The body continues to work supplying aid, helping with refugees and has worked on the ground to be a go-between between combative parties.

The U.N.'s emergency relief coordinator is asking for $5.6 billion in aid to help Ukrainians and others impacted by the war.

Still, in this moment, even the head of the U.N. is skeptical real change will come soon.

"At this point, the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres does not believe that the climate exists for there to be meaningful negotiations," Haq said.

"It is becoming more evident how much worse it could all become," Guterres said. "The possible consequences of a spiraling conflict are a clear and present danger."

Gutteres says he fears the world is heading into a wider war, meaning other countries could soon become involved in ways the world hasn't seen yet.

The General Assembly met Wednesday in an emergency session ahead of the anniversary, and the Security Council will meet Friday. 

Ultimately, the onus is on the participants involved in the war to see what can be done to move away from the conflict.

President Joe Biden.

In Poland, Biden reassures allies that US will defend NATO territory

Biden is meeting with a group of eastern European leaders, reaffirming commitments to defend NATO's eastern flank against Russian aggression.