UN General Assembly approves resolution condemning Russia’s aggression

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UN General Assembly approves resolution condemning Russia’s aggression

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the support of 141 out of 193 countries and a standing ovation in the chamber.

Russia voted against the measure, joining Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria.

The vote was symbolic and is not legally binding. Nevertheless, the vote reflected Russia’s growing isolation on the international stage in the form of the war in Ukraine. The special emergency session of the General Assembly in New York was part of a larger UN effort to hold Russia accountable and end the conflict.

“The United Nations is being challenged,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the assembly ahead of the vote. “If it has any purpose, it is to stop war and condemn war and stop war. That is our job today.”

The four-page resolution calls for an immediate end to the conflict, calls for diplomatic dialogue for a peaceful solution, and says regional gains from the threat of force will not be recognized. It demands that Russian forces withdraw immediately, protect civilians and allow the safe passage of humanitarian aid.

The resolution also criticized Belarus, saying it “regrets” the country’s involvement in the war.

“The Russian government is increasingly standing alone,” said EU representative Olof Skog. “The European Union and the world stand with the Ukrainian people.”

Russia’s ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, told the General Assembly that the resolution would not bring peace and accused the United States and its closest allies of “pressuring countries” to support the resolution through “open and cynical threats”.

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Thirty-five countries did not participate, including China, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Armenia and 16 African countries. In speeches to the General Assembly over the past few days, African representatives said that their citizens in Ukraine were being discriminated against and trying to flee across European borders.

Diplomats from developing countries noted that the international community had mobilized far more rapidly on the European nation’s invasion than on the ongoing conflicts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Berbock, told the General Assembly on Tuesday that when she called on her counterparts around the world to rally support for Ukraine, she said: “You are calling on us to show solidarity for Europe, But where were you for us in the past?”

Some countries, including China, South Africa and Iran, complained that the proposal was presented without full consultation and input from all member states, and therefore risked provoking rather than mitigating the crisis.

“We had no choice but to abstain,” Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun said.

Iraq’s ambassador, Bahr Aluloom, said that his country, which was invaded by the US in 2003, was turned away “because of our sufferings as a result of the ongoing wars against our people”.

Before the vote, the Ukrainian ambassador, Sergei Kislitsia, took the stage and held a blue booklet containing the United Nations Charter. He invited all the countries that voted in support of the resolution to sign it and said he would give it to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

After the vote, Mr Guterres told reporters: “The message of the General Assembly is clear and clear. End hostilities in Ukraine now. Shut up the guns, now. The ticking clock is a time bomb.”

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