Broad UN condemnation of Russian 'illegal annexations' in Ukraine

Wide UN condemnation of Russian “illegal annexations in Ukraine


The UN General Assembly on Wednesday condemned with an “overwhelming” majority the Russian “illegal annexations” of Ukrainian territories, after Moscow vetoed a similar text in the Security Council at the end of September. 

The General Assembly of 193 Member States, meeting in emergency since Monday, adopted this resolution with 143 votes in favor, against five countries against and 35 who abstained, including China, India, Pakistan and South Africa. South, despite diplomatic efforts by the United States.

The five states that voted against were, unsurprisingly, Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Nicaragua.

With this text, co-drafted by the European Union and presented by Ukraine, Westerners claimed to have proven that President Vladimir Putin's Russia was “isolated” on the international scene, seven months after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said in a statement that he was pleased to see “an overwhelming majority of nations on Ukraine's side, in defense of the UN Charter and resolute opposition to Russia's war against Ukraine and its people”. 

Mr. Blinken stressed “very few nations voted with Russia” and he welcomed the “international unity” and “unwavering support” for Kyiv.

The 143 countries that voted for the UN resolution meant that “they would not tolerate any attempt by a UN member state to seize territory by force,” insisted the US Secretary of State.

“It could be you”

Before the vote, its UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged as many countries as possible not to abstain: “Today Russia is invading Ukraine. But tomorrow the territory of another nation could be violated. It could be you. You could be the next” country, launched the diplomat from the United Nations platform.

Her French counterpart Nicolas de Rivière went further: “By invading its neighbour, Russia has decided to open the way to other wars of annexation. What is happening today in Europe may be happening elsewhere tomorrow: in Asia, Africa, Latin America”.

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And for the Briton Barbara Woodward, “Russia has failed on the battlefield and in the UN. (…) Russia has isolated itself. (…) The war must now be stopped”.

The resolution “condemns the attempts at illegal annexations” of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhya and Kherson after “so-called illegal referendums” and emphasizes that these actions have “no validity” under international law.

The text also calls for no state to recognize these annexations and calls for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine who entered on February 24.

The UN “demands that the Russian Federation return immediately and unconditionally on its decision of September 29″ on the integration of Ukrainian regions into Russia. These annexations constitute a “violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine”.

On September 30, Moscow used its veto to block the same resolution in the Security Council condemning the annexations in Ukraine. Apart from the Russian veto, the text had collected 10 votes for out of the 15 members of the Council. China, India, Brazil and Gabon had abstained and the West had already touted proof of Russia's isolation.

“Russia tried to silence the Council but it could not silence the UN General Assembly,” EU Ambassador to the UN Olof Skoog told reporters after the vote.