United Nations — The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to condemn Russia the so-called annexation large parts of Ukraine and demanded that Russia withdraw its troops from those areas. Saudi Arabia was among the nations that voted in favor of the resolution.
The General Assembly voted 143-5 to condemn Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four Ukrainian territories and called on Russia to “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces.”
The five countries that voted against the measure were Russia, Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. China was among 35 countries that abstained.
The resolution, which also called on states to “refrain from any action that could be interpreted as recognizing such an amended status,” marked the strongest support for Ukraine from the 193-nation General Assembly since the start of the Russian invasion.
In a statement Wednesday evening praising the vote, President Biden said “143 nations stood for freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The stakes of this conflict are clear to all — and the world has responded by sending a clear message: Russia cannot wipe a sovereign state off the map. Russia cannot change borders by force,” Biden’s statement said. “Russia cannot take another country’s territory as its own. Ukraine is entitled to the same rights as any other sovereign country. It must be able to choose its own future and its people must be able to live in peace within its internationally recognized borders.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, told world leaders in the General Assembly hall that “our message is loud and clear: It doesn’t matter whether you are a nation big or small, rich or poor, old or new. you are a UN member state, your borders are your own and protected by international law. The path to peace does not lead through escapes. and never rose from silence.”
Thomas-Greenfield told reporters after the vote that it was a “monumental day”. and later tweeted“Kherson is Ukraine. Zaporizhzhya is Ukraine. Donetsk is Ukraine. Luhansk is Ukraine,” referring to the territories Russia now claims as its own.
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, told CBS News that the vote was “a collective effort by the overwhelming majority and a call to moral duty and reason.”
“Who wants or can afford to be on the wrong side of the fence at this historic moment?” Kyslytsya asked.
On October 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws to annex four Ukrainian regions following “referendums” organized by Moscow in those areas. The referendums were condemned as fraudulent by the international community, with Ukraine, the UN chief, the US and many other countries rejecting the move as a blatantly illegal land grab.
“There is a trail of blood behind the Russian delegation when it enters the General Assembly,” Kyslycja told the General Assembly on Wednesday, referring to the brutality of attacks against civilians since the start of the war.
The vote spoke volumes for how far the international community has come to send a unified message to Russia. All members of the Gulf Cooperation Council – which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – voted in favor of the resolution.
Abdulaziz Alwasil, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN, said support for the measure was based on “a commitment to the firm principles of international law and the United Nations Charter… We affirm the need to respect the sovereignty of states with neighboring relations.” .”
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, warned before the vote that the measure could “destroy all efforts in favor of a diplomatic solution to the crisis”.
His caution was not heeded.
After an On October 8, an explosion that caused a partial collapse bridge connecting Russia with the Crimean Peninsula, Russia launched two days of retaliatory strikes on Monday and Tuesday, when dozens of missiles and drones were fired at Ukraine. At least 19 people were killed and more than 100 injured. Russia announced this on Wednesday they arrested eight people in connection with the explosion.
“The latest spate of rocket attacks against civilian infrastructure in Kiev and cities that Russia is now claiming through its sham referendums reveals to us the true nature of this war,” Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly on Wednesday.
“This is not a ‘special military operation,'” he added. “It is a war to punish and destroy Ukraine.”
Olof Skoog, the European Union’s ambassador to the UN, told reporters after the vote that “today’s result is a resounding statement rejecting Russia’s actions as illegal: fake referendums, alleged annexations, all of it. does not stand and that it is declared void and simply has no validity.”
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, he tweeted it “Russia will be held accountable,” he said, adding that the General Assembly’s vote “unequivocally rejected Russia’s illegal annexation.”
Wednesday’s vote came after the UN Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on the same topic in late September due to Russia’s veto. Although General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, the weight of condemnation by nearly 75 percent of the world’s nations sends a message to Russia, US officials said.
“There is a very simple way to end this war,” a senior White House official, speaking on background, told reporters last week. what President Biden said to the UN General Assembly in September. “Russia can stop the fighting, withdraw its troops to the Ukrainian border, and the war will end.”