A Russian official wanted for war crimes is set to brief the United Nations Security Council’s informal meeting on the Ukraine conflict.
Russian commissioner for children’s rights Maria Lvova-Belova, declared a war criminal by the International Criminal Court, is expected to speak at a Wednesday U.N. Security Council briefing, Reuters reported. The ICC holds Russian president Vladimir Putin and Lvova-Belova responsible for kidnapping hundreds of children from Ukraine during the war.
Russia informed members that Lvova-Belova would brief the meeting, which comes as Russia assumes the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of April. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky expressed outrage over Russia taking control of the council.
"It’s hard to imagine anything that proves more the total bankruptcy of such institutions," Zelensky said.
The United States advised Russia to "conduct itself professionally" during its leadership of the council.
According to a note from Russia to the council members, "participants will hear 'first hand' information from the Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights of the Russian Federation, as well as from children evacuated from the conflict area."
Russia maintains that its activities are for humanitarian purposes.
U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the situation is "like an April Fool's joke."
"But we also expect that they will use their seat to spread disinformation and to promote their own agenda as it relates to Ukraine, and we will stand ready to call them out at every single moment that they attempt to do that," Thomas-Greenfield said.
NATO welcomed Russia's neighbor, Finland, to its ranks on Tuesday, which comes as a blow to Putin's goals of containing NATO's growth.
Last week, Russia's Federal Security Service detained American reporter Evan Gershkovich on charges of espionage, which could result in up to a 20-year prison sentence. The Russian government arrested Gershkovich while he was writing a story on the Ukraine war.