Ukrainian Desperation Displays Limits of United Nations

Since the onset of the recent Ukrainian revolution in February, there has been significant unrest between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protesters. The resulting movement of pro-Russian forces into Crimean territory, and subsequent annexation by Moscow, created significant international controversy. While not recognized by the United States, the European Union, nor Ukraine itself, the declaration of Crimea as a federal subject of Russia has encouraged further military action by the pro-Russian protesters.

This week, the crisis had escalated to a point of such desperation, that Ukraine representatives reached out to the United Nations through a request for peacekeepers to assist in what the acting Ukrainian president has called a “large-scale antiterrorist operation.” However, the United Nations may not be able to provide any military assistance to Ukraine, due to a very ironic limitation of their security council. The council, whose agreement is required for military intervention, is made up of the five permanent U.N. members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The clear issue here is that as a permanent member of the United Nations, Russia holds a very influential veto power which allows the country to protect their particular international interests from the military action that was requested by Ukraine. This restriction of U.N power is a distinct demonstration of the greater issue of how weak our international law currently is. The ability of these highly influential countries to prevent aid to other U.N. members in order to serve their own interests epitomizes a very anti-democratic philosophy which will continue to perpetuate international inequality until amended to a more egalitarian system.