| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

UN General Assembly set to censure Russia over Ukraine invasion

On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly will condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and demand that it cease fighting and evacuate its military forces, a move aimed at diplomatically isolating Russia at the UN.

According to diplomats, nearly half of the 193-member General Assembly had signed on as co-sponsors of a draft resolution by Tuesday evening, ahead of a vote on Wednesday. Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine” is “deplored” in the text.

It’s similar to a draft resolution that Russia vetoed in the Security Council’s 15-member body on Friday. In the General Assembly, no country has a veto, and Western diplomats expect the resolution, which requires two-thirds backing, to pass.

“Russia’s conflict has ushered in a new era. On Tuesday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told the United Nations General Assembly that “it demands each and every one of us to take a clear and responsible choice and to take a side.”

While resolutions of the General Assembly are not legally obligatory, they do have political clout.

The draft language “demands that the Russian Federation withdraw all of its military forces from Ukraine’s territory within internationally recognized borders immediately, totally, and unconditionally.”

Several states are expected to formally abstain or not participate in the vote. China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstained in two UN Security Council votes on the Ukraine issue in the last week.

On Tuesday, UAE UN Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh remarked, “We must leave space for a diplomatic off-ramp.” “Channels must stay open, and those nations that abstained have channels with President Putin, which we will utilize to assist and support in any manner we can.”

The vote will take place at the conclusion of a rare emergency extraordinary session of the General Assembly, which was called by the Security Council on Sunday. Because it was a procedural matter, Russia was unable to block the motion.

Before the vote, more than 100 countries would have spoken at the session.

The UN’s actions are eerily similar to what occurred in 2014 when Russia took Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

The United Nations Security Council approved a draft resolution condemning a referendum on Crimea’s status and urging countries not to recognize it. Russia vetoed the bill.

Following that, the General Assembly passed a resolution declaring the referendum null and void. It earned 100 yes votes, 11 no votes, and 58 formal abstentions, with two dozen countries voting no.

  • Reuters