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US pushes UN to remove Russia from Human Rights Council – But to what end?

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UN Geneva via flickr.com

The US has initiated a resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council based on allegations of killing civilians while retreating from Kyiv and surroundings. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) shall be voting on this resolution on Thursday. 

The brief resolution to be voted is “grave concern at the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, particularly at the reports of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation, including gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights”.

The Resolution will pass if a two-thirds majority of the 47 UNGA members votes “yes”. In this election only the “yes” or “no” voting is counted with abstentions not counting as part of the calculation.

It is reported that the Kremlin has made calls to an unspecified number of countries, having ties with Russia, asking them to vote “no” and if they abstain or didn’t vote, it would affect bilateral relations.

It is also reported from Russia that the push to expel Russia from the Human Rights Council is a political act by countries that want to preserve their dominant position and control over the world. Those nations want to continue “the politics of neo-colonialism of human rights” in international relations. 

Russia stressed that its priority in the Human Rights Council or otherwise is to promote and defend human rights.

The question that remains of course, is what impact will this resolution, if passed, actually have? In a global climate where there is increasing division and thinning of relations, what use will ejecting Russia from the Human Rights council have? 

Instead of ejecting and cornering Russia even more, this is the time for diplomacy and dialogue. Of course, many people and indeed governments feel there needs to be a form of retaliation to the heinous attacks perpetrated by Russia in Ukraine, but will such a knee jerk reaction result in de-escalation or the fanning of the flames of a war in which peace may finally be on the horizon?

After the videos and photos from the town of Bucha, apparently showing corpses of civilians on streets, the US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield moved the resolution.

“We believe that the members of the Russian forces committed war crimes in Ukraine, and we believe that Russia needs to be held accountable,” Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday.

“We cannot let a member state that is subverting every principle we hold dear, continue to sit on the UN Human Rights Council.”, she added.

Moscow has denied the involvement of its troops in civilian deaths. Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s ambassador in Geneva, said that the US action is “unfounded and purely emotional bravado that looks good on camera – just how the US likes it”.

A Russian diplomatic mission spokesman reported that Gatilov also said “Washington exploits the Ukrainian crisis for its own benefit in an attempt either to exclude or suspend Russia from international organisations,”.

All UN Security council permanent members including Russia are members of the Human Rights Council. The US during the Trump Administration withdrew from the Human rights council and rejoined this year. 

Paulina Kubiak, UNGA spokeswoman, said the UN’s emergency special session on Ukraine would resume on Thursday morning. The resolution “to suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation” will be put to a vote during this session.

The only country which was stripped of its membership from the Human Rights Council was Libya in 2011, due to the upheaval in the North African country, when Muammar Gaddafi was removed in regime change by NATO. 

Notably, no UN body has ever removed membership of a permanent member of the Security Council, if the resolution is passed this will set a dangerous precedent, and could prove counterintuitive to the very purpose of the UN – an official body that is meant to be geared towards preventing conflict and promoting international cooperation.  

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Daily Brief

First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade

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  • The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
  • Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession

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  • The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession. 
  • The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned. 
  • President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%. 
  • Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russia-Ukraine

Russia cuts Germany’s Gas Supply causing Prices to Soar 

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  • Over the course of the Russian-Ukrainian War, Russia began to slowly cut off Germany’s gas supply through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. 
  • Before the war, over half of Germany’s gas came from Russia. By the end of June it was reduced to a quarter of its normal captivity, and now it operates at less than a fifth of it. 
  • Russia’s energy firm Gazprom has stated that this need to cut off Germany’s gas supply was due to maintenance work on a turbine that is needed. Critics have disagreed, claiming that Russia is using it’s gas as a ploy to cause terror to Europe. 
  • The cut of Gas supply to Germany and other central European countries has caused gas prices to rise almost 2%, causing the trade to close to a record high similar to that of when Russia invaded Ukraine. 
  • While Germany scrambles to find a solution to this, Poland states it will be fully independent from Russia by the end of the year in order to avoid blackmail from Russia.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Environment

‘Effects of nuclear war globally catastrophic’, new study warns.

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Impact of nuclear war on climate

A nuclear war could lead to a ‘nuclear ice age’, plummeting global temperatures, eradicating a vast proportion of sea life and largely implicating global food security, a new study indicates.

Researchers at Louisiana State University in the US conducted several computer simulations in an Earth System Model to assess the impacts of regional and global nuclear wars on oceans. The study, which examined the potential consequences of

conflicts between the US and Russia, as well as Pakistan and India, revealed that in every scenario, smoke and soot from firestorms would release into the upper atmosphere, obstructing the sun and plunging temperatures at an average of 13F (-11C) within  just one month.

Cheryl Harrison, assistant professor and lead author of the study, said the impact would be all-consuming. 

“It doesn’t matter who is bombing whom. It can be India and Pakistan or NATO and Russia. Once the smoke is released into the upper atmosphere it spreads globally and affects everyone,” she told Bloomberg.

“We can and must, however, do everything we can to avoid nuclear war. The effects are too likely to be globally catastrophic,” she added.

The simulations involved testing the impacts of the US and Russia bombing cities and industrial sites with 4, 400 nuclear weapons weighing 100 kilotons or Pakistan and India detonating 500 of the explosives. 

Alan Robock, Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University, said he hoped the study would “encourage” greater action to thwart the threat.

“Nuclear warfare results in dire consequences for everyone. World leaders have used our studies previously as an impetus to end the nuclear arms race in the 1980s, and five years ago to pass a treaty in the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons. We hope that this new study will encourage more nations to ratify the ban treaty.”

The research warned that a US and Russia conflict may lead to permanent increased Artic sea ice extent and volume. 

A UN report also warned of the rapid “global collapse” of civilisations, partially induced by global conflicts, unless urgent steps were taken to address the issue. 

The latest American study follows a warning to British troops by the army’s top general to prepare to “deter Russian aggression with the threat of force”. Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russia Foreign Minister, Sergie Lavrov said a Third World War would involve nuclear weapons and destruction would not be limited to Eastern Europe. 

Ocean temperatures could fall, and sea ice expand by six million square miles, affecting trading as major ports, such as Tianjin in China would be occluded.

Reversing the damage would take decades, the study warned. 

A report from the thinktank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that the global nuclear arsenal, since the cold war, is expected to increase drastically in the next few years and reversal this amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine is unlikely.

John Erath, senior policy director for the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, warned earlier that NATO was only capable of blocking an “extremely limited attack” if Russia were to launch a ballistic missile.

As record temperatures hit the UK, scientists claim that frequent and intense heatwaves are the result of human-induced climate change. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Key Ports in Ukraine are Severely Attacked from Russian Missiles

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Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launched from Plesetsk
  • According to Ukrainian reports, the city of Odessa was severely attacked, even though Russia agreed to not target any ports with grain shipment.
  • These products are vital to fight against the global food crises and caught on fire after the attack, in which Russia claimed they had nothing to do with the attack.
  • Russia attacked a key port after the signature of the Istanbul Agreement and agreed with Ukraine to ease the exportation of grain.
  • As a result of Russia’s actions, Ukrainian forces have utilised new US missile supplies to target the Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson, which would harshly impact the Russian supply if the bridge was destroyed.

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All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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