UN General Assembly calls for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine in landslide vote

New York, New York - The UN General Assembly on Thursday called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, with 141 of 193 member nations voting to condemn Moscow's invasion on the eve of its first anniversary.

The UN General Assembly called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, with 141 of 193 member nations voting to condemn Moscow's invasion.
The UN General Assembly called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, with 141 of 193 member nations voting to condemn Moscow's invasion.  © REUTERS

Although it is non-binding, the vote in the United Nations' largest body was seen as a global test of sentiment on the war waged by Russia against its neighbor.

Apart from 32 abstentions, only six countries – Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, and Syria – voted against the resolution, along with Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the countries that endorsed the "crucial" resolution.

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"This resolution is a powerful signal of unflagging global support for [Ukraine]. A powerful testament to the solidarity of [the world] community with [Ukrainian] people in the context of the anniversary of [Russia's] full-scale aggression. A powerful manifestation of global support for [Ukraine]," Zelensky tweeted.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also expressed satisfaction, saying Russia had failed to "undermine the international order" and that the coalition in support for Ukraine remained broad and strong.

India and China abstain

Ukraine's delegation to the UN applauds the result of the vote to condemn Russia's invasion.
Ukraine's delegation to the UN applauds the result of the vote to condemn Russia's invasion.  © REUTERS

The resolution contains the demand for peace and Moscow's withdrawal. It reaffirms a number of previously adopted positions of the body, such as the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The strong result is a counterargument to claims that there is war fatigue and crumbling support for Kyiv in some parts of the world, especially those reliant on Russian fuel.

In March, shortly after the war began, 141 countries condemned the invasion. Then, in October, 143 countries voted against Russia's claim to have annexed large parts of Ukraine.

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As in previous votes, China and India, two powerful nations with a combined population of about 2.8 billion, abstained on Thursday, along with South Africa and Iran.

While almost all South American countries voice their approval, including Brazil, a number of African states abstained.

Behind the UN scenes, there had been lengthy discussions about how substantial a resolution on the anniversary of the invasion could be.

According to sources in UN circles, Ukraine had been working on resolutions outlining a war crimes tribunal as well as a text that would turn a 10-point peace plan by Zelensky into a UN document. Both ideas were abandoned.

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Russia's UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, speaks during the General Assembly meeting, where his country was among only seven countries to vote against the resolution.
Russia's UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, speaks during the General Assembly meeting, where his country was among only seven countries to vote against the resolution.  © REUTERS

Ultimately, the strategy of Ukraine's Western backers was to get as many countries as possible to vote "yes" to the general motion in support of peace, even it meant watering down the text.

The resolution approved by the body says that achieving a comprehensive peace would make a significant contribution to strengthening international security.

It goes on to call for a full exchange of prisoners of war and stresses the need for those responsible for the most serious war crimes to be held accountable.

China's UN representative, Dai Bing, said in New York that Western arms deliveries would not create peace but only fuel the war. He said there must be direct talks between Moscow and Kiev again as soon as possible.

Beijing was expected to present its own position paper on a political solution to the Ukraine crisis as soon as Friday.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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