Russia is seeking to rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council, which this week accused Moscow’s forces of committing war crimes in Ukraine.
The council expelled Russia last year following the full-scale invasion of its neighbor, but it is now listed on the UN website as a candidate for election for the 2024-2026 term, which is due to take place on October 10.
Membership of the council is based on equitable geographical distribution, with two vacant seats in the Eastern European States regional group, according to the UN. Russia, along with Albania and Bulgaria, are listed as having announced their candidacy for that region.
Russia “believes it is important to prevent the increasing trend of turning the Human Rights Council into the instrument, which serves political wills of one group of countries punishing non-loyal governments for their independent internal and external policy,” according to a Russian position paper, obtained by CNN.
War crimes allegations: Earlier this week, the UN body said there is “continuous evidence” that Russian forces are “committing war crimes in Ukraine.”
It alleged that Russian forces have perpetrated “unlawful attacks with explosive weapons, attacks harming civilians, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and attacks on energy infrastructure.”
Russia has denied allegations of war crimes and claims its forces do not target civilians. But CNN journalists on the ground in Ukraine have seen firsthand evidence of atrocities at multiple locations across the country.