It has been obvious for several weeks that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been actively supporting the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine with weapons. It was reasonably clear that when the Malaysian airliner was shot down it involved a Russian antiaircraft system that had been moved into Ukraine, operated by quickly trained rebels, then quickly dispatched back into Russian territory when the rebels mistakenly targeted the commercial airliner.
Good intelligence information indicates that Russian artillery units have been active on behalf of the separatists, firing into Ukrainian territory from the Russian side of the porous border. In the last few days there have been documented cases of Russian units in armored cars crossing the border into Ukraine, both still images and video have been recorded. The Ukrainian Army has captured at least four active duty Russian soldiers.
In other words, Russia not only placed troops into Ukraine to take over Crimea, but is now actively attacking the sovereign state of Ukraine militarily. In response I see suggestions that additional sanctions should be imposed on Russia. I can think of one truly appropriate sanction that should be immediately imposed; Russia’s membership in the United Nations should be terminated, including their privileged role on the Security Council.
The following sections are from Chapter I, Article 2 of the UN Charter:
2. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
3. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Russia is clearly operating in Ukraine in violation of the UN charter. In addition, when the UN was formed the Soviet Union was granted the highest membership status along with the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and France. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian federation took over the Soviet membership on the presumption that the end of the Soviet Union and the creation of the Russian Federation was merely a name change. This was patently absurd, in 1945 the Soviet union was a significant power and rightly ranked with the other permanent members of the Security Council. Forty-five years later the one-time superpower had a withered dramatically. At that time there were 15 republics making up the Soviet Union, Russia is only one of those, further diminishing its stature. The Russian Federation was a grand new sovereign entity, carved out of Soviet Union but certainly not a successor. They should have been required to apply for membership as the new country that they were, and would certainly not have been given a permanent in the Security Council based on the situation in 1991.
If I Were King I would ask my economic advisors to evaluate the possibility of additional economic sanctions against the Russian Federation in response to their current disregard of international norms. But I would also direct my ambassador to the United Nations to demand the expulsion of the Russian Federation and terminate all treaties benefiting Russia that were simply inherited from the Soviet Union. Russia has had autocrats of various stature for most of its recorded history. Some of them were worthy and talented rulers by the standards of their time such as Peter, Elizabeth, and Catherine. Vladimir Putin is only a pale shadow of Russian emperors of the past, and acting as if the rules for invading foreign sovereign states had not changed since the days of Catherine the Great further diminishes him. The rest of the world should not treat Putin as the legitimate leader of a major power when he is no more than a kleptocratic spoiled child somehow in command of the Russian heartland. only when Russian troops have been with drawn from the Ukraine, Russian military support for the rebels has ended, and Crimea has been restored to its rightful place within a sovereign Ukraine should Russia’s application to rejoin the UN be considered.