UN condemns Russia’s move to annex parts of Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s “attempt to illegally annex” four partially occupied regions of Ukraine and called on all countries not to recognize the move, cementing Moscow’s international diplomatic isolation ever since. invaded her neighbor.

Three-quarters of the General Assembly’s 193 members – 143 countries – voted in favor of a resolution that also affirmed Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

“It’s amazing,” Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sergei Kiselitsya, told reporters after the vote while standing next to US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield, who said the result showed that Russia cannot intimidate the world.

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Only four countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution – Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. 35 countries abstained, including Russia’s strategic partner China, while the rest did not.

“Today Russia invades Ukraine. But tomorrow it may be another country whose territory is being encroached upon. It could be you. It could be next. What do you expect from this room?” Thomas Greenfield told the General Assembly before the vote.

Moscow announced in September its annexation of four partially occupied regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia – after holding what it described as referendums. Ukraine and its allies denounced the vote as illegal and coercive.

The General Assembly vote came on the heels of Russia last month’s veto of a similar resolution in the 15-member Security Council.

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Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, told the General Assembly before the vote that the resolution was “openly politicized and provocative,” adding that it “could destroy any and all efforts in favor of a diplomatic solution to the crisis.”

‘Double standards’

The moves at the United Nations mirror what happened in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea. Then the General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring the referendum invalid by a vote of 100 to 11 against, and with 58 official abstentions.

China’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Geng Shuang, said China abstained from the vote on Wednesday because it did not think the resolution would be helpful.

“Any action taken by the General Assembly should lead to de-escalation of the situation, lead to an early resumption of dialogue, and should lead to the promotion of a political solution to this crisis,” he said.

The United States and other Western countries lobbied ahead of Wednesday’s vote. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held a virtual meeting on Tuesday with diplomats from more than 100 countries.

They won dozens more votes than the 2014 result, improving in the 141 countries that voted to denounce Russia and demand it withdraw its troops from Ukraine within a week of its February 24 invasion.

Then Moscow tried to shake off its international isolation. With Russia and the West vying for diplomatic influence, some nations – particularly in the Global South – are becoming anxious about paying the price for being squeezed amid intense geopolitical rivalry.

“We regret the double standards policy of the powerful in this world when it comes to Africa,” Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United Nations, George Nzongola Ntalaja, told the General Assembly on Wednesday.

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“We support Ukraine. We want to see the war over,” he said. But we would like to see the international community take similar actions against other situations in the world where countries are being invaded and occupied.”

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Reported by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Costas Pettas and Grant McCall

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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