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Putin, charged with war crimes, takes over U.N.'s most powerful arm

Russia's status as president of the U.N. Security Council, despite its leader waging an illegal war on Ukraine and facing war crimes charges, is bound up in a frozen-in-time power structure dating to the end of World War II.

Diplomats meet in the U.N. Security Council Chamber in 2019
Diplomats meet inside the U.N. Security Council Chamber in 2019 (AN/United Nations)

Russia and, by extension, its leader Vladimir Putin took command of the U.N. Security Council for the entire month of April, giving him what other leaders warn is a prestigious stage to spread disinformation about his war against Ukraine.

The last time Russia was in charge of the United Nations' most powerful arm was in Feb. 2022, when the country launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbor. And it's the Security Council that is supposed to bear the primary responsibility under the U.N. Charter for maintaining international peace and security.

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