War in Ukraine: UN General Assembly demands “immediate” withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine

The non-binding resolution had 141 votes in favor and 7 votes against (Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea, Mali, Nicaragua, Eritrea) and 32 abstentions out of the 193 member states of the United Nations, including China and India. Similar support came in October, when 143 countries condemned Russia’s annexation of several Ukrainian territories, with five voting against.

Since Wednesday, representatives of dozens of countries have marched to the United Nations in support of Ukraine, while Kiev has urged members of the international community to choose between “good and evil.”

The adopted resolution reaffirms its “commitment” to “Ukraine’s territorial integrity” and “demands” that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from Ukrainian territory within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.” annexed by Russia.

It “stresses the need for a cease-fire” and “to quickly achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter”.

The General Assembly took up the issue after Russia used its veto power to prevent the Security Council from taking any action on Ukraine for a year.

Even if its resolutions are non-binding, “it’s not just a piece of paper,” European diplomacy chief Joseph Borrell said on Thursday, calling it a reflection of the concerns of the international community.

“In one year, we should not meet to mark the second anniversary of this ridiculous war of aggression,” said Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who instead hopes for a “summit for peace” in 2024.

But he warned his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, that “Russia has shown no desire for peace (…) Peace, and she knows no peace but the dead and ruins.”

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Also read our file: A year of war in Ukraine

‘There are no winners’

A “path to peace” is however “very clear”: “Russia must stop the bombing”, insisted Annalena Baerbach, head of German diplomacy. “An abuser asking his victim to give up is not peace.”

At the start of this special session on Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres slammed him as the “insult to our collective conscience” represented by the invasion of Ukraine.

“The potential consequences of conflict escalation are a clear risk and already exist,” he warned, referring specifically to nuclear risks.

But President Vladimir Putin vowed this week to “methodically” pursue his offensive in Ukraine, recalling the Cold War in a speech laced with anti-Western rhetoric.

Its ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, also attacked the West, accusing it of being “ready to plunge the whole world into the abyss of war” in their “desire to defeat Russia”.

This war is not a question of “the West against Russia,” replied Joseph Borrell. “This illegal war worries everyone: North, South, East and West”.

It is a “global war,” but “not a world war,” he commented, emphasizing the ramifications for the entire planet.

In this context, China, which did not vote again, pledged this week to publicize a “political solution”, presenting elements of it in Kyiv and Moscow.

“Wars do not win,” said Dai Ping, China’s deputy ambassador to the UN. “One year after the start of the Ukrainian crisis, hard facts prove that sending weapons will not bring peace,” he added, calling on Kiev and Moscow to “soon resume dialogue”.

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The previous three resolutions on Russian aggression were voted on by the General Assembly a year ago and gathered between 140 and 143 votes in favor, with a handful of countries formally voting against (Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea) and fewer than 40 countries abstaining. .

A slightly different fourth in April suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council, with less consensus (93 votes to 24 against, 58 abstentions).

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