Russia learned at the UN on Wednesday that some of its allies did not necessarily support its invasion of Ukraine.

NEW YORK – The UN General Assembly voted in an emergency session on Wednesday to demand an immediate end Moscow’s attack on Ukraine and the removal of all Russian troopswith prolonged applause after a formidable show of support among 193 member states against the invasion.

141 against voted for the resolution “Aggression against Ukraine”, 35 abstained. It happened when Russia was bombing UkraineThe second largest city in Russia and besieged two important ports, and a huge convoy of Russian military vehicles stood near the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Only Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea have joined Russia in opposing the move, indicating international isolation Russian President Vladimir Putin supporters of the invasion of their country’s smaller neighbor – and this was supported by supporters of the resolution.

As expected, China and India abstained, as well as some surprises from Russia’s usual allies Cuba and Nicaragua. And the United Arab Emirates, which abstained from adopting a similar Security Council resolution on Friday, voted in favor.

Cuba defended Russia on Tuesday, and Ambassador Pedro Luis Cuesta blamed the crisis on what he said was the US determination to continue expanding NATO to Russia’s borders and supplying modern weapons to Ukraine, ignoring Russia’s concerns for its own security. He told the assembly that the resolution “suffered from a lack of balance” and did not begin to address the concerns of both sides or the “responsibility of those who took aggressive action that led to the escalation of this conflict.”

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but they are important in reflecting international opinion. According to the rules of special emergency sessions, the resolution requires the approval of two-thirds of those countries that voted and abstained are not taken into account.

From Washington, US President Joe Biden called the special session historic and a demonstration of “unprecedented global unity.”

“The vast majority of the world recognizes that if we do not oppose Putin’s Russia, it will only further chaos and aggression in the world,” Biden said in a statement.

After Russia vetoed a similar Security Council resolution on Friday, Ukraine and its supporters received permission to hold an emergency special session – the first since 1997 – to try to counter opposition to Russia’s invasion.

Deploring Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine “in the strongest terms”, the measure calls for an immediate cessation of Moscow’s use of force and the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Russian forces.

The resolution says that Russia’s military operations in Ukraine “are on a scale that the international community has not seen in Europe for decades, and that urgent action is needed to save this generation from the scourge of war.” He “calls for an immediate peaceful settlement of the conflict” and reaffirms the Assembly’s commitment to “Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”

The event also condemned the “decision of the Russian Federation to increase the combat readiness of its nuclear forces” – a question raised by many UN members concerned about this prospect.

Before the vote, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, Sergei Kislitsa, told the assembly: “They came to Ukrainian soil not just to kill some of us … they came to deprive Ukraine of its very right to exist.” He said “the crimes are so barbaric that they are difficult to understand.”

Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya called on UN members to vote against the resolution, arguing that Western countries were exerting “unprecedented pressure” with “overt and cynical threats” to gain support for the measure.

“This document will not allow us to stop military activity. On the contrary, it could encourage Kyiv radicals and nationalists to continue to determine the policy of their country at any cost, ”Nyabenzia warned.

“Your refusal to support today’s draft resolution is a vote for a peaceful Ukraine, which” will not be ruled from the outside, “he said. “This was the goal of our special military operation, which the authors of this resolution tried to present as aggression.”

The resolution also calls on Russia to repeal the decision to recognize the two separatist parts of Eastern Ukraine as independent. This measure also deplores the “involvement of Belarus in this illegal use of force against Ukraine”, a characteristic that Belarusian Ambassador Valentin Rybakov categorically rejected in his speech to the Assembly shortly before the vote.

He said that the only participation of Belarus in the conflict was the organization of talks, which will continue on Thursday, between Russia and Ukraine. Belarus has sided with Russia, Rybakov said, the resolution reflects “double standards” in relation to Russia and the West.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters immediately after the vote: “The message of the General Assembly is loud and clear: stop hostilities in Ukraine now. Shut up the guns – now. Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy – now. “

“We don’t have a moment to lose,” he said. “The harsh consequences of the conflict are obvious … It threatens much, much worse.”

US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield called on all countries to “maintain momentum”, do everything possible to help the Ukrainian people, bring Russia to justice and “combine our strong words with decisive action.”

Explaining China’s abstention, Ambassador Zhang Jun used more emotional expressions than at previous UN meetings, referring to “drastic changes in the situation in Ukraine” and calling what is happening “a heartbreak.” He reaffirmed Beijing’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, as well as the peaceful settlement of all disputes in accordance with the UN Charter.

“The main priority now is to alleviate the situation on the ground as much as possible and prevent escalation or even getting the situation out of control,” Zhang said.

Speeches from about 120 countries were delivered during the more than two days before the vote.

From the small Pacific island nation of Palau to Germany’s European economic power, country after country has attacked Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called for support for a UN resolution.

There were only a few who supported Russia and some who did not hold any position, such as South Africa. Calling for compromise and diplomacy to find a lasting solution to the crisis, South Africa abstained.

Co-sponsors of the resolution were Afghanistan, where the Taliban overthrew the elected government last August, and Myanmar, where on February 1, 2021, the military overthrew the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. But neither the Taliban nor Myanmar’s military government has done so. received UN recognition, so support came from representatives of their previous governments.

During the meeting, some supporters of the resolution had blue and yellow signs under the signs of their countries with the inscription “#TodayWeAllUkraine”.

British Ambassador Barbara Woodward said the vote gave a clear signal that the assembly condemns Putin and supports Ukraine.

“We have spoken out against those who seek to redraw the world’s borders through threats or the use of force,” she said.

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