UNITED NATIONS (HPD) — The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution Wednesday condemning Russia’s “illegal annexation attempt” of four Ukrainian regions and demanding that Moscow immediately reverse its actions, a sign of strong global opposition to the war and to Moscow’s attempt to dispossess its neighbor of territory.
The vote among the 193 members of the world body was 143 in favor to five against with 35 abstentions. It was the strongest General Assembly endorsement of Ukraine and against Russia among the four resolutions that have been passed since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24.
The Western-driven resolution was in response to Russia’s announced annexation last month of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions. Moscow made the determination after Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” that the Ukrainian government and Western nations have described as fraudulent votes held in occupied territory amid fighting and displacement.
During two days of speeches at the assembly’s special emergency session on Ukraine, speaker after speaker accused Russia of violating the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter: respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the member nations of the UN.
Before the vote, the United States ambassador to the organization, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that when the UN was created on the ashes of World War II, it was conceived under one concept: “that no country would ever again be allowed to take another’s territory by force.”
He declared that the facts were clear, that a permanent member with veto power in the United Nations Security Council had tried to annex his neighbor’s territory by force, and called on all countries to condemn Russia for the annexations.
A key point for the Western countries that supported the resolution was how many countries would support it, and the result exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.
On March 2, the General Assembly voted 141-5 with 35 abstentions to demand an immediate ceasefire from Russia, the withdrawal of all its forces and protection for all civilians. On March 24, a resolution was voted 140-5 with 38 abstentions in favor of a resolution blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and calling for an immediate ceasefire and protections for millions of civilians, residences, schools and hospitals vital to their survival. survival.
The margin was narrowed in an April 7 assembly vote to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council over allegations that Russian soldiers in Ukraine engaged in rights violations, which the United States and Ukraine called war crimes. That vote was 93-24 with 58 abstentions.
A 2014 resolution to ratify Ukraine’s territorial integrity and outlaw the referendum that led to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula was adopted by a vote of 100-11 with 58 abstentions.
Among the surprises in support of Wednesday’s resolution were “yes” votes from Brazil, as well as those from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, called on countries to vote against the resolution, which he described as an “openly provocative and politicized document” and called its sponsors “unscrupulous blackmailers of the West.” . He regretted that the vote was not secret, as Russia wanted.
Nebenzia reiterated Moscow’s claims that the referendums were valid, saying “the populations of these regions do not want to return to Ukraine.”
The four countries that joined Russia in voting against the resolution were North Korea, Belarus, Syria and Nicaragua.
China, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Cuba were some of the 35 countries that abstained.