A year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations General Assembly meets in emergency session to talk about the war. And it is by no means a peaceful debate. In the end, 6 countries vote no along with Russia.
UN Secretary Antonio Guterres called for a “genuine and lasting peace”: based on respect for the UN Charter, international law and national borders. And he called for speed: “The longer the fighting continues, the more difficult this work will be. We must not waste a moment.” Again, “The threat of the so-called tactical use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable: it is time to step back from the brink.”
Resolution condemning invasion voted at UN General Assembly
On the table is a draft resolution – non-binding, like all documents approved by the Assembly, but of undoubted political value – condemning the invasion by Russian troops as an intentional use of force against the territorial integrity of a state and calling for their immediate withdrawal with a view to a “just” peace.
The text traces that of a resolution already passed last year, and Ukraine hopes to win a large majority, around two-thirds of the UN Assembly’s 193 member countries.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pointed out that “Russia has violated the UN Charter” with unprovoked aggression, “This is the simple reality of the facts.” The resolution on the ballot calls for the restoration, for the aggressed country, of “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.”
UN war resolution, the Russian position
Russia, on the contrary, is calling on its allies to rally for a vote against it, arguing that it is a “proxy war” fueled in an anti-Russian function by the Western bloc, which armed Kiev even before the conflict, threatening the Federation’s borders, and then adopted strong economic sanctions against Moscow.
“The West has ignored our concerns and brought NATO infrastructure ever closer to our borders,” in the words of Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia. “Believing the accusations against Russia is only possible by ignoring the previous eight years, during which the criminal nationalist regime in Kiev came to power with the help of the West.” And thus, “We had no other option to defend the people of the Donbass.”
UN resolution, the speeches from the leaders
There were many high-profile speeches on the two fronts. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, the first among the Europeans to speak, stressed that “Peace is the ultimate strategic goal we are all aiming for. Italy is proud to be co-sponsor of this draft resolution.”
The Russian invasion is an attack on the heart of the UN Charter.” Thus U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield: “This vote is an opportunity to vote for a peace in line with the principles of the United Nations.”
Also on the topic, in a video message during an event on human rights violations on the sidelines of the Assembly, was Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska, who called on the United Nations to establish a special tribunal for crimes committed by the Russians so that “aggression” like that of a year ago “cannot happen again.”
UN Assembly passes peace resolution with 141 yes and 7 no votes
In the end, the U.N. General Assembly approved by 141 votes to 7 with 32 abstentions a resolution stressing “the need to achieve, as soon as possible, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in line with the United Nations Charter.”
Seven countries voted against the resolution. In addition to Russia, as on other occasions, noes came from Syria, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, Nicaragua and, for the first time, Mali.
Thirty-two abstained, including China, India, Iran, Cuba, Armenia, many African countries, and then Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Brazil, on the other hand, voted in favor of the resolution for a just peace in Ukraine, against some predictions.
Zelensky: “UN vote is powerful proof of support for Ukraine”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on Twitter after the vote at the UN:
“We are grateful to all the countries that supported the General Assembly’s important resolution ‘Principles of the United Nations Charter underpinning a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace in Ukraine.’ This is a powerful testimony of the world community’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people in the context of the anniversary of the Russian Federation’s large-scale aggression. A powerful demonstration of global support for Ukraine’s #PeaceFormula.”