UN passes resolution condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine; China abstains

UN to vote on reprimanding Russia after invasion of Ukraine

The United Nations General Assembly passed a historical resolution Wednesday condemning Russia’s deadly invasion into Ukraine and demanded it withdraw its forces immediately.

The resolution holds no legal authority but serves as a symbol of global unity against Russian President Vladimir Putin as only five of the 181 nations present for the vote opposed the measure. 

United Nations members stand up and applaud after a vote on a resolution concerning the Ukraine during an emergency meeting of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The U.S., along with 140 other nations, supported the resolution while 35 nations abstained, including authoritarian regimes like China, Cuba and Iran.

Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria voted against the resolution. 

The vote was met with a standing ovation.

Ahead of the vote Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the rare emergency special session an “extraordinary moment” and noted it was the first time in 40 years that an emergency meeting had been called. 

“Most of the men and women fighting in Ukraine were not even born the last time the United Nations came together in this way to unite,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “But a few of the…Ukrainians and Russians might recall a moment like this – a moment when one aggressive European nation invaded another without provocation to claim the territory of its neighbor.

“A moment when a European dictator declared he would return his empire to its former glory – an invasion that caused a war so horrific that it spurred this organization into existence,” she added. 

Ukrainian forces destroy Russian armored vehicle in Kharkiv
(Reuters Marketplace – Anadolu Video)

The U.N. ambassador said Russia’s actions have once again challenged the international body to remember that it was established to “prevent war.”

Russia has increased its use of force after being met with Ukrainian resistance that security officials have suggested surprised Putin and stalled his invasion. 

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled while countless citizens remained behind to stand with the armed forces to fend off Russian advances – including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy, who has remained in Ukraine despite evacuation offers from Western allies, praised the outcome of the Wednesday vote and said the results “convincingly show that a global anti-Putin coalition has been formed and is functioning.”

“The world is with us. The truth is on our side,” he added. 

The Ukraine State Emergency Service has reported that 2,000 Ukrainians have been killed since fighting began one week ago.

The foreign ministry has also claimed that 5,000 Russian soldiers have been killed during the incursion.

Ukrainian servicemen and first responders stand by a damaged vehicle, at the site of fighting with Russian troops, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 26, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Putin has attempted to claim justification for his invasion by falsely alleging that members of the Ukrainian government are neo-Nazis and responsible for human rights abuses. But security officials have argued Putin has long desired to reunite the former Soviet bloc.

 “How many lives will he sacrifice for his cynical ambitions?” Thomas-Greenfield questioned, arguing his actions have constituted war crimes that violate the Geneva Convention.

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