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Russia Ukraine conflict

Russia to shun UN rights body talks on Ukraine, Prague takes its place

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Russia will not participate in Thursday’s special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Ukraine, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, as the UN General Assembly in New York elected the Czech Republic to take Moscow’s vacated seat on the body.

The Council announced on Monday that it would hold a special session at Kyiv’s request to examine “the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression.”

Though Moscow was suspended from the UN’s top rights body, it would still have been allowed to participate due to its observer status.

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But Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said “the Russian delegation will not legitimize with its presence this new political show organized under the guise of an extraordinary session.”

“Unfortunately, our arguments and explanations on the true objectives of this special military operation and the real situation on the ground have been completely ignored,” she said in a statement.

“It is evident that they will not be heard this time either” during the West’s “new anti-Russian measure.”

Russia was a member of the Human Rights Council until the UN General Assembly voted on April 7 to suspend it from the body and from sitting in judgement on other nations’ human rights records.

Russia then immediately withdrew from the council, and now has observer status.

On Tuesday, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to place the Czech Republic on the rights council. Its term will end on December 31, 2023.

Thursday’s council meeting on Ukraine will be its first since Russia was ousted from the body.

During an urgent debate on Ukraine, the body voted on March 4 to trigger a commission of inquiry - the highest-possible level of investigation - into alleged Russian violations during what Moscow calls its “special military operation” launched in neighboring Ukraine on February 24.

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