UN urges Russia to drop ‘illegal’ annexation of Ukraine


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to condemn Russia’s “attempted and illegal annexation” of four regions of Ukraine and demand its immediate repeal. area.

The global body of 193 members voted 143 to 5 with 35 abstaining. It was the strongest General Assembly support for Ukraine and Russia in the four resolutions the General Assembly has approved since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sergiy Kislitsa, called the vote “amazing” and a “historic moment”. US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield said supporters were “holding their breath” and called it a “monumental day”. He called it a “great success” in sending “a striking message of isolation” to Russia.

US President Joe Biden said in a statement that the vote showed the world was “more united than ever and determined to hold Russia accountable for its transgressions.” He said it was a “clear message” that “Russia cannot wipe sovereign states off the map” and “cannot change borders by force.”

The Western-sponsored resolution responded to Russia’s annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions of Ukraine announced last month. Moscow has acted following a Kremlin-orchestrated “referendum”. The Ukrainian government and Western powers dismissed it as a fake ballot held in occupied territories amidst war and displacement.

In two days of speeches at parliament’s reconvened emergency special session on Ukraine, speakers called for respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all UN member states after accusing Russia of violating key principles of the UN Charter. .

Wednesday’s vote was preceded by heavy lobbying by supporters of the EU-facilitated resolution.

U.S. Special Envoy Thomas Greenfield told Congress before the vote that when the United Nations was founded on the ashes of World War II, it would “never again be allowed for one nation to seize the territory of another by force of arms. It was built on the idea that

She later told reporters that the vote meant “in the eyes of the world and the United Nations, Ukraine’s borders will remain unchanged.”

“The resolution also sends a very important signal to Moscow and to all. Your borders are yours and are protected by international law,” said Thomas Greenfield.

A key question for Western supporters of the resolution was how many countries would support it, and the outcome exceeded their most optimistic expectations.

The UN General Assembly voted 141 to 5 with 35 abstaining on 2 March, calling for an immediate Russian ceasefire, withdrawal of all troops and protection of all civilians. On March 24, a resolution blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and calling for an immediate ceasefire and protection for millions of civilians and the homes, schools and hospitals essential to their survival, voted 140 to 5,38. I voted to abstain.

But Congress voted on April 7 to ban Russia’s participation in the UN’s Geneva-based Human Rights Council over allegations that Russian soldiers in Ukraine were involved in rights abuses in what the United States and Ukraine called war crimes. Voted to stop by a small margin. The vote was 93 to 24 with 58 abstentions.

A 2014 resolution affirming Ukraine’s territorial integrity and declaring illegal the referendum that led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea was adopted by 100 to 11 with 58 abstentions.

Among the surprising supporters of Wednesday’s resolution were “yes” votes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Brazil.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, called the resolution “a politicized and blatantly provocative document” and accused its proponents of “malicious Western extortionists”, urging countries to vote against it. appealed to cast. He expressed regret that the ballot was not a secret ballot, as requested by Russia but rejected by Congress.

Nebenzia reiterated Russia’s insistence that the referendum is valid, saying that “people in these regions do not want to return to Ukraine.”

Four countries, along with Russia, voted against the resolution: North Korea, Belarus, Syria and Nicaragua.

Kislitsa, Ukraine, expressed deep regret that the four countries had made a “wrong choice contrary to the UN Charter” and urged them to reconsider their commitments to the UN’s principles.

Of the 35 countries that abstained, 19 were from Africa, including South Africa. China and India, the world’s most populous countries, also abstained, along with Pakistan and Cuba.

A stronger Security Council, whose resolution is legally binding, due to Russia’s veto it used on 29 September to block condemnation of Russia’s attempt to annex Ukrainian territory. We have been prevented from taking action in Ukraine.

By contrast, the General Assembly, without veto power, has now approved four resolutions criticizing Russia over Ukraine. Its votes reflect world public opinion, but are not legally binding.

The resolution adopted on Wednesday said Moscow’s actions violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, were “inconsistent” with the principles of the United Nations Charter, and were “not valid under international law, and would render the status of these territories ineffective.” It does not form the basis for changes, ”of Ukraine. ”

It calls for Russia to “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all military forces from Ukrainian territory within its internationally recognized borders.”

We also support “alleviation of the current situation and peaceful settlement of disputes through political dialogue, negotiation, mediation and other peaceful means” respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders. I’m here.

With over 70 speakers, many countries called for a negotiated end to the war. The EU’s Skog said the appeal for a peaceful settlement was “very important” but emphasized that it must be based on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

There was strong support for the resolution during Wednesday’s debate.

Australian Ambassador Mitch Fifield called Russia’s annexation attempt an “illegal and dangerous escalation” and urged all nations to oppose the act of aggression.

Ireland’s Ambassador Fergal Misen said voters in the “fake” referendum in the four regions “faced intimidation by the Russian military and illegally appointed Russian authorities”.

Cambodia’s ambassador to Cambodia, Sobang Khe, did not disclose how the vote was to be voted, but said, “Forcible annexation of a region by a sovereign country is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and international law and is unacceptable,” he said. In a vote to “totally respect” respected borders, Cambodia supported the resolution.

South Korean Ambassador Hwang Jung-kook clearly supported “Ukrainian sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity.” He said that his country’s “own painful experiences” after the Korean War of 1950-53 were “a very serious and lasting problem, not a solution, and any attempt to divide the country in any shape or way.” It can be proved that this is only the beginning of a serious problem.

On the other side of that split, North Korea’s ambassador Kim Song has endorsed the “self-determination” of the people of the four regions annexed to Russia as rights protected by the UN Charter, the results of which must be respected. Said it wouldn’t.

He accused the United States and Western countries of “brutal” violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Syria’s Ambassador Bassam Sabag accused the General Assembly of being “grossly manipulated by some Western states for their own geopolitical interests” and called on states to “isolate Russia and adopt double standards.” urged to oppose the effort.