On the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly is scheduled to vote on a motion asking for the unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
The vote will take place on February 23-24, one year after Putin’s army launched an all-out war against Ukraine and began a full-scale invasion.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called Moscow’s actions an “attack on our collective conscience” in his opening remarks.
At the same time, the UN Secretary-General warned of a further escalation of the war, citing “indirect threats” of nuclear weapons use and “irresponsible” military interventions near nuclear power stations.
As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues, the United Nations General Assembly considered a resolution supported by Kyiv and its allies calling for a “just and lasting peace.”
In contrast to the UN Security Council, Russia does not have a veto at the UN General Assembly. Since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February, the assembly has passed several resolutions condemning the war that are not binding under international law.
In March of last year, 141 of the 193 UN member nations voted in favor of a resolution calling Russia to withdraw “immediately” from Ukraine. In April, the parliament voted by a considerably tighter margin of 93 votes to suspend Russia’s participation in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Russia’s “illegal annexation” of Ukraine’s Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia regions was criticized by 143 member nations in October.
Kyiv and the Western states are now seeking a significant majority of UN states to back the non-binding resolution to demonstrate the global community’s support. This is also why the phrasing in the draft is less sharp than Ukraine would have preferred.
Almost 60 countries have signed on to the resolution, emphasizing “the need to achieve, as quickly as possible, a comprehensive, just, and enduring peace in Ukraine in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.”
The draft resolution underlines the UN’s “support to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity” and urges an immediate cease-fire.
It further asks that Russia “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from Ukrainian soil.”
“Never in history has the dividing line between good and evil been so clear: a country wants to survive. “The other wants to kill and destroy,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the meeting.
During Wednesday’s debate, Russia’s UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, restated Moscow’s claim against the West, which was made a few days before by Putin.
“They are prepared to throw the entire globe into the depths of war,” Nebenzya stated, without mentioning Russia’s aggressive attack on Ukraine.
“This war on Ukraine is not a ‘European issue,” said the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell. It is not about ‘the West versus Russia’. No, this illegal war concerns everyone: the North, the South, the East, and the West – the whole world.”
“If we do not condemn and stop Russia’s actions in Ukraine today, any other country, anywhere in the world, will face similar aggression,” Borrell told the assembly.
China, India, and over 30 other countries have previously abstained from UN votes favoring Ukraine. It’s expected that some of those states will finally back Ukraine and condemn the irrational Putin’s war.
While Russia’s war in Ukraine has brought the West together, it has also highlighted a fracture of the global order.
Almost 80 countries are due to address the assembly, which will vote on the draft resolution on Ukraine on Thursday or Friday.