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Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Alekseyevich Nebenzya.

Meet Vasily Alekseyevich Nebenzya. Vasily Alekseyevich, 62, has been the permanent representative of Russia to the United Nations since July 27, 2017. At the time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, Vasily Alekseyevich was serving as the president of the UN Security Council. When the Ukrainian Representative asked Vasily Alekseyevich to “call [FM] Lavrov right now” and “do everything possible to stop the war,” Vasily Alekseyevich said, “Waking up Minister Lavrov at this time is not something I plan to do.” But even without orders from Moscow, Vasily Alekseyevich vetoed a proposed UNSC resolution condemning the invasion.

On November 2, 2023, Vasily Alekseyevich told an emergency special session of the UN General Assembly, that the United Nations does not have the right to give Israel an absolute mandate to carry out a ground operation in Gaza.


“The only thing they can muster is continued pronouncements about Israel’s supposed right to self-defense, although as an occupying power, it does not have that power as confirmed by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice handed down in 2004,” Vasily Alekseyevich explained.

He also noted that “Russia cannot turn a blind eye to the flagrant violations of international humanitarian law committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.”

He said it with conviction.

On Tuesday, Vasily Alekseyevich called for reconsidering the decision to dismiss employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) solely based on Israel’s accusations.

“We note that these staff members were immediately dismissed before any investigation was conducted, based solely on Israel’s allegations … We call for a reconsideration of this step until all the circumstances of what happened are clarified,” Vasily Alekseyevich said.

Vasily Alekseyevich also said that UNRWA’s funding must be fully restored: “UNRWA funding must be fully restored, otherwise the agency’s blackmailers will fully share the blame with Israel for all the consequences of this inhumane step for the people of Gaza.”

In late January, sixteen countries, including the US, the UK, Germany, and Canada, suspended UNRWA’s funding over evidence that its employees collaborated with Hamas and were involved in the October 7, 2023 atrocities. UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini ordered the dismissal of several agency employees who had carried out the atrocities.

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