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Russia vetoes UN resolution on annexations

The US has vowed to turn to the UN General Assembly after Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning its annexation in Ukraine.

October 1, 2022
By Simon Lewis and Timothy Gardner
1 October 2022

Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution introduced by the United States and Albania condemning Moscow’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine, with Russia’s strategic partner China abstaining from the vote.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russian rule over four regions that make up 15 per cent of Ukraine’s territory – the biggest annexation in Europe since World War II. 

The move has been firmly rejected by Western countries and even many of Russia’s close allies.

US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield introduced the resolution that called on member states not to recognise any altered status of Ukraine and obliged Russia to withdraw its troops.

She argued in the council’s chamber that the attempted annexation of a sovereign nation’s territory went against the founding principles of the United Nations, and said Putin was celebrating “this clear violation of international law” with a concert held after he proclaimed the annexations on Friday.

Ten nations voted in favour, while China, Gabon, India and Brazil abstained.

“Not a single country voted with Russia. Not one,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters on Friday after the meeting, adding the abstentions “clearly were not a defence of Russia”.

Washington would turn to the 193-member UN General Assembly to condemn Russia’s actions, she said.

“In the General Assembly, the nations of the world will say loud and clear: It is illegal, and simply unacceptable, to attempt to redraw another country’s borders through force,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Russia has been trying to chip away at its international isolation after nearly three-quarters of the General Assembly voted to reprimand Moscow and demand it withdraw its troops within a week of its February 24 invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia, who raised his hand to give the only vote against the resolution, argued the regions, where Moscow has seized territory by force and where fighting still rages, chose to be part of Russia. 

Kyiv and Western leaders denounced the referendums as a sham.

“There will be no turning back as today’s draft resolution would try to impose,” Nebenzia said.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya said the single hand raised against the resolution “again testified to Russia’s isolation and his desperate attempts to deny reality in our common commitments, starting from the UN charter”.

Britain’s envoy, Barbara Woodward, said Russia had “abused its veto to defend its illegal actions” but said the annexations had “no legal effect”. “It is a fantasy,” she said.

China abstained from the resolution, but raised concerns about “a prolonged and expanded crisis” in Ukraine.

China has been firmly on the fence over the conflict, criticising Western sanctions against Russia but stopping short of endorsing or assisting in the military campaign, despite the two nations declaring a “no-limits” strategic partnership in February. 

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