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Wa in Ukraine: considerations upon the UN's actions

After about a month since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, which occurred after the invasion from the Russian Federation, the situation seems to continue with the same violence and intensity. Even though the conflict is changing on a tactical level, with Russian troops slowing down that - also due to the strong resistance of the Ukrainian armed forces - are progressively surrounding the main cities of the Country, worn down by the heavy artillery attacks.

Focusing on the humanitarian aspect rather than on the strategic and military one, the seriousness of the situation forces us to face several issues, mainly the upset generated by the helplessness and the certainty that those episodes were now relegated to the past.

While war episodes continue to occur, the void left by the Institutions becomes more and more resounding. Those Institutions were actually born and developed throughout the years with the aim of granting peace, valuing the diplomatic and the negotiation field as a shelter from international disputes.

The main reference is actually to the United Nations Organization, born at the end of the Second World War with the aim of never repeating the horrors of that conflict and surpassing the fragilities of the old Society of Nations.

As history bitterly teaches us, the ideal plan doesn’t seem to match with reality, even when, as in this case, it’s led by noble purposes, and the succession of conflict and violent episodes on an international level after the Second World War testify it, underlying deep problems of the structure of ONU and mortifying article 2[1] of the Charter of the United Nations, a manifesto of the new world order[2].

This is an issue that mainly invests the organ designated to maintain the safety of the United Nations Security Council, which is actually unable to fulfill its functions, with a few exceptions, due to a veto system that, emphasizing the international stance of its members, ended up penalizing the organ’s role and aim.[3].

This condition did not find any benefit in the new international order, which is highly multipolar and actually even more fragile and unbalanced than the past one (characterized by the URSS-USA bipolarism).

However, with the recent begging of the war, this vicious cycle started again, making the Security Council fall into the obstruction of immobilism once again. The United Nation Assembly, as it has already happened in the past, was summoned in an emergency session on the impulse of the Council, mainly voting in favour of a Resolution against Ukraine's invasion (Resolution A/ES-11/L.1, 141 in favour, 5 against, Russia included, and 35 abstaining, China and India included), which marks a strong stance against Russia’s inconsiderate actions[4].

The standpoint of the Assembly emphasizes two main aspects: the first mainly concerns the strong stance about the latest events, a condemning signal for the war and an affinity one for Ukrainian people, but above all the willingness to provide notable and firm answers compared with the Security Council’s inactivity.

The strong value of such an action is intrinsically linked with another important aspect, the role that the Assembly historically played during times of international crisis. A valid example - that had been largely debated recently - was the discussion that led to implementing the Unity for Peace Resolution, voted during an emergency session in 1950, in a situation that was similar to the current one, the Korean War[5].

However, this is not the only example: in a chronological order, there have been the Resolution n.2625 in 1970[6], about friendly relations, the Resolution n.3314[7], about the definition of aggression in 1974 and the n.42/22 one in 1987, concerning the strengthening of the principle of non-use of violence in international relations[8].

On the one hand, the stabilization of such a practice as the use of the Uniting for Peace Resolution might create a sparkle of hope for this current conflict; on the other hand this can only be described as a theoretical practice due to the fact that, even though it is quite stabilized, it is far from representing a costume change, due to its limited application thought history (only 10 times)[9]. This has also implicitly concealed an even more relevant negative aspect concerning the inability to reform this ineffective mechanism, that underwent an emptying of its duties at the expense of a growth of its political role.

This hole later had serious repercussions, first of all on the United Nations’ commitment regarding international controversies, as well as on the inability, also understood as incapacity, to implement a coherent reform for the institutional relaunch - despite the several proposals[10].

If the current era, for the above-mentioned reasons, doesn’t seem to be suited to face this issue, looking back to our past might actually help us raise a few questions.

The end of the Cold War and the danger between the ‘90s and the early ‘00s was actually the only time frame in which the Council, and the United Nations in general, seemed to really fulfill its duties; something that signaled the birth of a new era, which can be circumscribed to a Unipolar viewpoint, that, in a simplistic way, saw the USA as the only policeman of the world, aimed at keeping peace.

It was during this period that the Security Council managed to fully fulfill its duties, as during the Gulf War[11].

After about 30 years, this circumstance shows a little superficiality and lack of foresight, marked by the huge mistake of mistaking an historic moment - characterized by Russia’s self - withdrawal that followed its Soviet era, by CHina which is ascending both politically and economically and by the European Union, in the middle of a building process - with history’s inescapability, missing the chance to revitalize the United Nations.

A missed chance that, due to the latest events, seems like a sad failure, as confirmed by images from Ukraine.

Translated by Immacolata Balestrieri



[1]article 2, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter: “The Members must abstain in their international relations from threats and using violence, borth against territorial integrity or political independence of any State, and in any other way that is incompatible with the aim of the United Nations.”

[2] https://www.difesa.it/SMD_/CASD/IM/ISSMI/Corsi/Corso_Consigliere_Giuridico/Documents/26122_carta_ONU.pdf

[3] https://www.ispionline.it/it/pubblicazione/onu-quanto-e-necessaria-una-riforma-23808

[4] https://www.infodata.ilsole24ore.com/2022/03/05/assemblea-onu-solo-cinque-paesi-la-risoluzione-condanna-dellinvasione-russa/

[5] https://www.un.org/en/sc/repertoire/otherdocs/GAres377A(v).pdf

[6] https://www.studiperlapace.it/view_news_html?news_id=20041124231820

[7] https://www.studiperlapace.it/view_news_html?news_id=20041102221524

[8] https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/152626

[9] Sergio Marchisio, L’onu, Il Mulino Bologna, 2012, pp.85-86

[10] https://www.iai.it/sites/default/files/iai0911.pdf

[11] https://www.difesa.it/OperazioniMilitari/op_int_concluse/IraqKuwait_UNIKOM/Pagine/default.aspx


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  • L'Autore

    Tiziano Sini

    Tiziano Sini dopo aver conseguito la laurea triennale in Scienze politiche presso la facoltà "Cesare Alfieri" di Firenze, si specializza presso la Luiss "Guido Carli" di Roma in Relazioni Internazionale con una tesi in Economia Europea sull'analisi dell'European Green Deal e la relazione con le politiche promosse dal Next Generation Eu.

    Da sempre appassionato di politica nazionale ed internazionale, con uno sguardo sempre rivolto alla dimensione economica.

    All'interno di Mondo Internazionale ricopre la carica di autore occupandosi di tematiche europee.

    Tiziano Sini after having obtained the Bachelor's Degree in Political Science at faculty "Cesare Alfieri" of Florence, majored at Luiss "Guido Carli" of Rome in International Relations with dissertation in European Economy on the analysis of the European Green Deal and the relationship with policies promoted by the Next Generation Eu.

    He was always been passionate about national and international politics, always looking at the economic dimension.

    In the context of Mondo Internazionale he holds the position of author dealing with European affairs.


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war Ukraine Russia SecurutyCouncil General Assembly ONU peace reform unitingforpeace

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