Russia on Thursday criticized the decision by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to fire a Kenyan commander in the South Sudan peacekeeping mission, saying the move has now jeopardized the mission.
Following the sacking of the commander, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country will withdraw all its troops from South Sudan.
Russia said the South Sudan mission is now “in ruins”, with about 1,000 Kenyan troops set to withdraw.
Ban dismissed Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki following a UN inquiry into the response by peacekeepers to the several days of violence in the South Sudanese capital Juba found a lack of leadership and that the UN troops failed to protect civilians.
UN peacekeepers have been deployed in South Sudan since 2011 when the country gained its independence.
“For us the decision was premature,” Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Petr Illichev said. “We don’t have a special representative, she’s leaving, we don’t have a force commander. … The whole structure is in ruins.”
U.N. South Sudan envoy Ellen Loj is due to step down at the end of November.