- UN general assembly vote condemns Russia’s annexations in Ukraine.
- The US president hails the assembly decision.
- It sends a clear message that Russia cannot erase a sovereign state from the map.
The United Nations general assembly has overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s attempted illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions, demanding that Moscow reverse course.
US president Joe Biden said the vote sent a “clear message” to Moscow. The stakes of this conflict are clear to all, and the world has sent a clear message in response – Russia cannot erase a sovereign state from the map, he said in a statement. “Russia cannot change borders by force. It cannot seize another country’s territory as its own,” he added. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was grateful to 143 states that supported the historic UNGA [United Nations general assembly] resolution, tweeting: “The world had its say – [Russia’s] attempt at annexation is worthless and will never be recognised by free nations.”
Convergence And Divergence
Three-quarters of the 193-member general assembly – or 143 countries – voted on Wednesday in favor of a resolution that called Moscow’s move illegal, deepening Russia’s international isolation.
Only four countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution – Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. Thirty-five countries abstained, including Russia’s strategic partner China, together with India, South Africa and Pakistan. The rest did not vote. US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the vote showed international unity against Russia and repeated that Washington would never recognise the “sham” referendums.
The vote “is a powerful reminder that the overwhelming majority of nations stand with Ukraine, in defense of the UN Charter and in resolute opposition to Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine and its people,” he said in a statement.
In September, Moscow proclaimed its annexation of four partially occupied regions in Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – after staging so-called referendums. Ukraine and allies have denounced the votes as illegal and coercive. The resolution adopted on Wednesday declares that Moscow’s actions violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, are “inconsistent” with the principles of the UN charter, and “have no validity under international law and do not form the basis for any alteration of the status of these regions of Ukraine.”
It demands that Russia immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. It also supports “the de-escalation of the current situation and a peaceful resolution of the conflict through political dialogue, negotiation, mediation and other peaceful means.
Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the general assembly ahead of the vote that the resolution was “politicized and openly provocative”, adding that it could destroy any and all efforts in favor of a diplomatic solution to the crisis. China abstained on Wednesday because it did not believe the resolution would be helpful, China’s deputy UN ambassador Geng Shuang said. Meanwhile, Democratic Republic of Congo UN ambassador Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja deplored the “double standards” of the west.
Did you subscribe to our daily Newsletter?
It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe