General Assembly Overwhelmingly Adopts Resolution Demanding Russian Federation Immediately End Illegal Use of Force in Ukraine, Withdraw All Troops
Member States today overwhelmingly adopted a resolution demanding the Russian Federation immediately end its invasion of Ukraine and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from that neighbouring country, as the General Assembly continued its emergency session on the crisis.
[The emergency special session — the eleventh called since the founding of the United Nations — opened on 28 February, meeting less than 24 hours after being mandated to do so by a vote in the Security Council, following its failure to adopt a resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s recent actions in Ukraine. See Press Releases SC/14808 and SC/14809 for details.]
Deploring in the strongest terms its aggression against Ukraine in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, the Assembly also demanded the Russian Federation immediately and unconditionally reverse its 21 February decision related to the status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
The measure was adopted by a vote of 141 in favour to 5 against (Belarus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Russian Federation, and Syria) with 35 abstentions — a clear reaffirmation of the 193-member world body’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.
The Assembly demanded that the Russian Federation immediately cease its unlawful use of force against Ukraine and refrain from any further threat or use of force against any United Nations Member State, while also deploring Belarus’ involvement in this illegal action and calling on that country to abide by its international obligations.
The text urged the immediate peaceful resolution of the conflict through political dialogue, negotiations, mediation and other peaceful means, calling upon the parties to abide by the Minsk agreements and to work constructively in relevant international frameworks, including the Normandy Format and Trilateral Contact Group, towards their full implementation.
On the humanitarian front, the Assembly demanded that all parties allow safe and unfettered passage to destinations outside of Ukraine, facilitate rapid and unhindered access to those in need of assistance inside the country, and protect civilians and medical and humanitarian workers. It further demanded that all parties fully comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law to spare the civilian population and civilian objects, condemning all violations in that regard and asking the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator to provide a report on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and on the humanitarian response within 30 days.
Ukraine’s representative, who introduced the resolution, said that for almost a week, his country has been fighting missiles and bombs. Half a million people have fled as the Russian Federation tries to deprive his country of the right to exist, carrying out a long list of war crimes. The Russian Federation’s goal is not just an occupation, it is genocide. “Evil needs more and more space to conquer” if tolerated, he said, adding that the current text is a building block for putting an end to evil.
The speaker for the Russian Federation, rebuking those claims, said: “This document will not allow us to end military activities. On the contrary, it could embolden Kiev radicals and nationalists to continue to determine the policy of their country at any price.” Nationalist battalions are planning provocations with the participation of civilians that would then accuse his country of having carried them out. Affirming that the Russian Federation will not conduct strikes against civilian facilities or civilians, he asked the international community to not believe “the large number of fakes spread around the Internet”.
Likewise, Syria’s representative said the draft clearly represents a prejudiced attitude based on political propaganda fuelled by political pressure. Language against the Russian Federation attempts to belittle its right to protect its people and its security concerns. Had the United States and its Western allies been serious, they would have fulfilled the promises made decades ago to refrain from transforming Ukraine into a threat to the Russian Federation and should have stopped Ukraine from not complying with the Minsk agreements.
The speaker for the United States, who urged countries to vote in favour of the draft, said her country is choosing to stand with the Ukrainian people and will hold the Russian Federation accountable for its actions. Despite Ukraine’s courageous defence, the country has suffered devastating consequences, with up to a million people expected to flee their homes. The international community must welcome them, she said, calling on the Russian Federation to stop its unprovoked war and on Belarus to stop allowing its territory to be used to facilitate that aggression.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, added: “This is not just about Ukraine, this is not just about Europe, this is about defending an international order based on rules. This is about whether we choose tanks and missiles or dialogue and diplomacy.” Today's historic vote clearly shows the Russian Federation’s isolation from the rest of the international community, he stressed.
Turkey’s delegate expressed concern about the illegal act of aggression against a founding member of the United Nations “by a permanent member of the very organ entrusted with preserving peace and security”. It is still not too late to go back to the negotiating table, he said, adding that “as a neighbor and friend of both the Russian and Ukrainian people”, Turkey stands ready to support the peace process.
Also participating in the debate were the representatives of Solomon Islands, Myanmar, Pakistan, Djibouti, Bhutan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Cambodia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Permanent Observers of the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta, and a representative of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
NOEL MARTIN MATEA (Solomon Islands), stressing that the Russian Federation’s intervention in Ukraine is a violation of the rule of law, called for immediate de-escalation and restoration of Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. Welcoming the talks currently taking place, he stressed the need for diplomacy and dialogue instead of confrontation and hostile postures. The Charter of the United Nations calls for “the open hands of friendship” and not clenched fists, he said. The people of his country know the consequences a world war can bring, he said, underscoring that the world must not go through such brutality ever again. The international community is already inundated with global challenges including the COVID—19 pandemic, climate change and sea level rise, he noted, pointing out that the situation in Ukraine is diverting much-needed attention from the global development agenda.
KYAW MOE TUN (Myanmar) condemned the invasion of Ukraine and the unprovoked attack against its people, calling for respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Noting that his country has been following with great concern the situation on the ground in Ukraine, he expressed regret that it had escalated, with intensified attacks by the Russian Federation. Myanmar understands and shares the suffering of the people of Ukraine, he said, noting that they are facing similar suffering because of atrocities committed by the Myanmar military. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced, including those with disabilities, elderly women and children. He commended the neighboring countries of Ukraine, which have opened their borders. “It is time for all of us to stand with justice and with the principles of the United Nations Charter,” he said. Myanmar stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and has co-sponsored the draft resolution and will vote in favour of it.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), expressing commitment to self-determination, non-use of force or threat of force and peaceful settlement of disputes, said these principles must be consistently and universally applied. The recent turn of events reflect a failure of diplomacy, he said, calling for sustained dialogue in order to avoid further escalation. Military and political tensions pose an unprecedented threat to global security and economic stability, he said, pointing out that developing countries are the hardest hit by conflict anywhere. Expressing hope that the talks initiated by the Russian Federation and Ukraine will bring about a cessation of hostilities, he voiced concern about the safety of his country’s students and citizens in Ukraine. Those who remain will be evacuated soon, he said, acknowledging the cooperation of Ukrainian authorities and those of neighbouring countries
MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti), noting the unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, expressed deep regret that the Council failed to act in unison after the veto cast by the Russian Federation. “The refusal expressed by a majority of Member States to be paralyzed into inaction is a testament to the commitment of Member States to ensure that the United Nations remains relevant in the face of vexing and complex security challenges,” he said. Unequivocally condemning the egregious breach of international law and most fundamental Charter principles, he urged that a country, if it has legitimate security concerns, prioritize the use of Charter tools. He reiterated the African Union’s call to establish immediately a ceasefire and to start negotiations without delay under United Nations auspices, stressing that no argument or pretext can justify the use of force and brutal violence unleashed on Ukraine and its people. In that regard, Djibouti will vote in favour of the draft, reaffirming its solidarity with the people of Ukraine. He expressed alarm at the persistent “representations of negativity” towards Africans and statements by so-called experts who are drawing distinctions between refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East and those fleeing conflict in Ukraine, stressing that wars are the same wherever they are. “We are at a critical moment in the history of the United Nations and must put an end to conflict and do everything to prevent other conflicts. It is within our reach […] let us mobilize our political will to put an end to them,” he said.
DOMA TSHERING (Bhutan), noting the significance of the current emergency session, said the provisions of the “Uniting for Peace” resolution must be invoked for the first time in 40 years due to the deadlock in the Security Council. “Perched atop the Himalayas, even the folds of the mighty mountains cannot shield our country from the reverberations of this conflict,” she said, adding that international security is in danger far beyond the borders of Europe. Whereas all Member States are beholden to the principles of the Charter, for small States such as Bhutan, they are the guarantor of peaceful existence and good-neighbourly relations, she said. The threat or use of force against a sovereign State is unacceptable, she emphasized, declaring: “We cannot condone the unilateral drawing of international borders.”
ANOUPARB VONGNORKEO (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said his country has previously suffered the scourge of war and knows only too well the endless negative consequences it causes to innocent lives. While commending the United Nations and Member States that have offered humanitarian assistance to the affected people, he emphasized that his country remains sceptical of unilateral sanctions, cautioning that such measures could entail long-term impacts on innocent people, including the global community at large, especially during the pandemic. In that regard, he called upon all parties concerned to refrain from any action that could further fuel the escalation of tension, seek peaceful solutions, and restore peace and security. Expressing support for the ongoing effort to find a peaceful diplomatic settlement, he stressed the importance of taking into account the legitimate security concerns of all parties. “It is our fervent hope that, through this diplomatic effort, peace can be restored, peace which constitutes the heart and soul of our Organization, the United Nations,” he said.
SOVANN KE (Cambodia), expressing great concern about the human suffering unfolding in Ukraine, emphasized the importance of peaceful dialogue and negotiation. He also stressed the need to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance, reiterating the call by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for peaceful resolution of the current dispute. Cambodia is a co-sponsor of the draft resolution, he noted.
YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) expressed deep regret that the ongoing crisis has caused significant casualties, among the civilian population in particular. Calling for strict adherence to international humanitarian law, he emphasized that civilian lives and infrastructure must be protected and safeguarded at all times. The evolving humanitarian crisis on the ground requires expedient measures to alleviate the impact of the current situation on civilians, he noted. In that regard, Azerbaijan has rendered, on a bilateral basis, humanitarian assistance in the form of medicine and medical equipment as well as other needs essential to the people of Ukraine. The situation must be settled through diplomatic means, in full compliance with international law, he stressed, reiterating calls for dialogue without delay to prevent further escalation and direct negotiations between the parties.
VALENTIN RYBAKOV (Belarus), noting that his country will vote against the draft resolution, said the international community must bear its share of responsibility for what is currently happening in Ukraine. Recalling the signing of the Minsk agreements eight years ago as well as the relevant resolutions adopted by the Council and the Assembly, he said the international community was unable to convince the Ukrainian authorities to abide by these documents. Ukraine has found itself in a state of civil war for years and civilians have been dying in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Noting that operative paragraph 8 of the draft text hypocritically calls on all parties to fulfil the Minsk agreements, he asked its sponsors where they had been for the past eight years.
The United States, Canada and the European Union, who believe themselves to be the gold standards of democracy, could not find the strength to respond to the criminal activities of the Ukrainian authorities, he said. Their double standards have already led to hundreds of thousands of victims in the former Yugoslavia as well as Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. “I will let you in on a secret. Yes, we are involved,” in the conflict, he said, adding that the President of Belarus is sparing no effort to organize negotiations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Cautioning against the imposition of sanctions, for example, against Belarussian potassium fertilizers, he said that will lead to economic and social problems and increased hunger in countries located hundreds of kilometres from his. “Russians and Belarussians are essentially being held hostage” in Ukraine, he said, also highlighting the cases of racism and discrimination towards foreign citizens at the borders as well as the “rampant plundering” and uncontrolled distribution of weapons in Ukraine.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) called on the Russian Federation to stop its unprovoked, unjustified, and unconscionable war, and to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and on Belarus to stop supporting the war and stop allowing its territory to be used to facilitate that aggression. The international community stands together in holding the Russian Federation accountable for its violations of international law and to address the unfolding horrific human rights and humanitarian crisis. She noted that this is the first time in 40 years that the Security Council has convened an emergency special session of the General Assembly, recalling the invasion that caused a war so horrific that it spurred the United Nations into existence. “If the United Nations has any purpose, it is to prevent war, to condemn war, to stop war. That is our job here today. It is the job you were sent here to do not just by your capitals but by all of humanity,” she said.
Although Ukraine has defended itself with great courage and vigor, the brazen and indiscriminate nature of the Russian Federation’s attack has had devastating and horrific consequences for the entire country. Detailing acts of aggression that have caused many to flee their homes, she said the latest United Nations estimates are marching towards a million people. She thanked countries for opening their borders, hearts and homes to those fleeing Ukraine and called on the international community to welcome all those fleeing conflict without regard to race or nationality. Pointing to protests for peace that have sprung up around the world in solidarity with Ukraine, she said the United States is choosing to stand with the Ukrainian people, and, in coordination with its allies and partners, to impose severe consequences and hold the Russian Federation accountable for its actions, urging Member States to vote in favour of the resolution.
GABRIELE CACCIA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, echoing calls to end the violence, said the United Nations was founded to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours. It is the duty of all States to seek to resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation or by other peaceful means, even when war has commenced. Expressing appreciation to States which are offering humanitarian assistance to those in need both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries in which many have sought safety, he said Pope Francis has called on believers and non-believers alike to observe this 2 March as a “day to be close to the sufferings of the Ukrainian people, to feel that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore of God the end of the war”. There is always time for goodwill, still room for negotiation and still a place for the exercise of a wisdom that can prevent the predominance of partisan interest, safeguard the legitimate aspirations of everyone and spare the world from the folly and horrors of war, he said, stressing: “may this Emergency Special Session advance efforts that help attain this end”.
PAUL BERESFORD-HILL, Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta, highlighting his organization’s mission to serve the sick and the poor, expressed sadness about the ongoing conflict which has impacted the lives of so many citizens of Ukraine and has created an unprecedented flow of refugees. The Sovereign Order’s embassy to Ukraine has provided considerable support and material help to that country’s citizens residents, he said, adding that a refugee exodus of over 6 million persons might be the outcome of this situation. Noting that some nations have gone out of their way to welcome these individuals and to help them through the trauma, he said the Order’s staff are working along the Ukrainian border, doing everything from serving hot food and drink to caring for injured people.
AMANDA SOUREK, a representative of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, strongly condemned the unprovoked war of aggression waged by the Russian Federation with Belarus’ involvement against Ukraine. She called on the international community to “spring into action” to protect the people of Ukraine and mitigate the invasion’s humanitarian consequences. Ukraine has successfully reached democratic standards over the past two decades. As such, this is a pivotal moment for democrats all over the world to stand in support of Ukraine, as well as the moment to counter and prevent the rise of authoritarian regimes elsewhere. She called on the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its military forces and fully respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. She encouraged the Secretary-General to make use of his good offices to advance ceasefire talks, humanitarian access to the war-affected areas, and the protection of civilians. She urged Member States to adopt and enforce sanctions against the Russian Federation until withdrawal of the forces from Ukraine and the restoration of its territorial integrity, and to “do whatever it takes in compliance with the principles of the Charter” to stop the war and prevent any further escalation of conflict. Her Institute and its member States will do their part in collaboration with the United Nations and other democratic Governments and organizations to protect the principle that every country has the right to freely determine its own fate based on the freely expressed will of its people.
The representative of Ukraine, introducing the draft resolution titled “Aggression against Ukraine” (document A/ES-11/L.1), said the United Nations was created to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, but it falls to the current generation to save the world yet again from war. Regardless of a nation’s grievances, aggressive warfare is never a solution, he said. For almost a week, his country has been fighting missiles and bombs, he said, adding that the Russian Federation is trying to deprive Ukraine of the right to exist. Expressing gratitude for all expressions of support and solidarity and thanking those Member States who accepted Ukrainian refugees, he said that half a million have fled his country. The list of the Russian Federation’s war crimes is very long, he said, pointing to widespread use of indiscriminate weapons such as aerial bombs in residential areas. Many cities and towns have faced sustained shelling that killed civilians, including children and a student from India. Also noting that a missile was dropped on a holocaust memorial, he said, “What an irony.”
The Russian Federation’s goal is not just an occupation, it is genocide, he said, adding that later this month, the International Court of Justice will hold public hearings concerning allegations of genocide against that country. “Evil needs more and more space to conquer” if tolerated, he said, adding that the current text is a building block for putting an end to evil. Voting in favor of the resolution is a reaffirmation of the Charter, he said, inviting delegates to also sign a copy of the Charter after the vote. Playing a video recording of Benjamin Ferencz, he said this “fragile gentleman” was an investigator of war crimes and a chief prosecutor at the trials of Nuremberg. Echoing Mr. Ferencz’s call for law over war, he called on all Member States to support the draft.
The representative of the Russian Federation, calling on Member States to not support the draft resolution, said his country knows of the unprecedented pressure that Western partners are exerting on a large number of countries. “This document will not allow us to end military activities. On the contrary, it could embolden Kiev radicals and nationalists to continue to determine the policy of their country at any price,” he cautioned. The Russian Federation is aware that nationalist battalions are planning provocations with the participation of civilians that would then accuse his country of having carried them out. In addition, military hardware are being placed in residential areas, as well as rocket launchers and artillery, he said, adding that the Russian Federation would provide examples to the United Nations leadership in that regard. “The refusal to support the draft resolution is a vote for a peaceful Ukraine that is free from radicalism and neo-Nazism, living in peace with its neighbors,” he said.
That is the aim of the Russian Federation’s special military operation, which has been presented as aggression by the resolution’s sponsors, he continued. Affirming that his country will not carry out strikes against civilian facilities or civilians, he asked the international community to not believe “the large number of fakes spread around the Internet”. He noted that the draft does not mention the “illegal coup in Kiev in February 2014 with the connivance of Germany, France and Poland and with the support of the United States, where the legitimately elected president of their country was overthrown”. The draft also does not mention new nationalist authorities that are limiting the rights of citizens to use the Russian language, he said, adding that that was a stark green light for a chain of events and violations of the basic rights of those living in the east of the country. “This draft is a clear attempt of those who over the last decades have committed huge numbers of aggressions — illegal under international law, as well as coups, one of which was the Maidan coup in Ukraine — and who present themselves as champions of international law,” he said in conclusion.
The representative of Serbia said his delegation is committed to the principles of sovereignty and the territorial integrity of all nations and will vote in favour of the draft. Recalling that the first major attack in Europe after the Second World War occurred in 1999 in the former Yugoslavia, he said that there had been no United Nations reaction with regard to Serbia, and the consequences are still felt today. For its part, Serbia will continue to advocate for ending conflict, he said, expressing hope the parties will create peace through dialogue.
The representative of Syria said the draft clearly represents a prejudiced attitude based on political propaganda fuelled by political pressure. Language against the Russian Federation attempts to belittle its right to protect its people and its security concerns, and Belarus has been affected by the draft, which represents a flagrant political hypocrisy. Had the United States and its Western allies been serious, they would have fulfilled its promises made decades ago to refrain from transforming Ukraine into a threat to the Russian Federation and should have stopped Ukraine from not complying with the Minsk agreements. Instead, weaponry has been supplied, reflecting the clear-cut desire of those countries to worsen and not de-escalate the current situation. At the same time, an enormous media campaign is spreading lies that are aimed at defaming the Russian Federation and not at resolving the conflict. Such attempts ignore the real reason for tensions and the eruption of hostilities. Those showing support for the draft should have shown the same eagerness related to Israel’s occupation of Arab territories and Turkey’s action against Syria. Syria will vote against the draft because, among other things, it promulgates anarchy, imposes sanctions and will only worsen the situation.
Also speaking in explanation, the representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines said her delegation will vote in favor of the text in accordance with its steadfast commitment to the Charter. Strict adherence to international law and international humanitarian law is not optional, she said.
The Assembly then adopted the draft by a recorded vote of 141 in favor to 5 against (Belarus, Democratic Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Russian Federation, Syria), with 35 abstentions. Delegates greeted the results with a standing ovation.
The representative of Rwanda said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution in support of, and with respect for, the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any country. Emphasizing that military actions should cease immediately, he said the Russian Federation and Ukraine have the key to resolving the conflict and external intervention will only exacerbate the situation. Expressing serious concern over the extent of humanitarian devastation, and the peace and security challenges caused by the war, he noted reports that Africans are being racially segregated and denied safe exit and admission to neighbouring countries. Rwanda calls upon all those involved to allow unhindered evacuation without looking at individuals’ colour or origin, he stressed.
The representative of China said any action taken by the United Nations and relevant parties must prioritize the security concerns of all actors while playing a positive role considering the current situation. Unfortunately, the draft has not undergone full consultations with the full membership nor has it considered all issues related to the situation. As these elements are not in line with China’s principles, his delegation had to abstain from voting. Resolving the conflict requires abandoning the cold war logic and the approach of expanding military blocs to ensure security. Instead, talks must focus on collective security. Calling on the international community to take a responsible approach, he said efforts must be sought to ensure parties engage in dialogue.
The representative of India expressed deep concern over the rapidly deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, noting that an Indian national was tragically killed in Kharkiv on Tuesday due to ongoing hostilities. He demanded safe and uninterrupted passage for all Indian nationals, including students still stranded in Ukraine, noting that this remains his country’s top priority and it has instituted special flights to bring back Indians home from conflict zones. Moreover, his Government has deployed senior ministers as special envoys to countries neighboring Ukraine to facilitate evacuation, he said, thanking all those countries for opening their borders and extending all facilities to India’s embassies. India has already dispatched humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, including medicines, medical equipment and other relief material, and will be sending one more tranche in the coming days. Supporting the call for an immediate ceasefire and safe humanitarian access to conflict zones, he stressed that differences can only be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. He underscored the urgent need for humanitarian access and movement of stranded civilians, expressing hope that the second round of talks between the Russian Federation and Ukraine will lead to a positive outcome. Keeping in view the totality of the evolving situation, he said India has decided to abstain from the vote.
The representative of Iran reiterated his country’s principled position of respect for the Charter, international law and international humanitarian law. Stressing the importance of avoiding double standards in the maintenance of peace, he pointed to the conflict in Yemen. Expressing concern about the Council’s inaction, he noted that his delegation abstained from the vote.
Statements after Adoption
The representative of the European Union delegation, in its capacity as observer, recalling that last week, the Council was unable to act against the Russian Federation’s unprovoked act of aggression because of that country’s veto, said today countries around the world came together to speak against that aggression. Calling on the Russian Federation to immediately stop the aggression, he added that the brutality of that country’s invasion, with the complicity of Belarus, has reached unimaginable levels. Highlighting indiscriminate attacks against Ukrainian cities, he said “this is not just about Ukraine, this is not just about Europe, this is about defending an international order based on rules. This is about whether we choose tanks and missiles or dialogue and diplomacy.” Today's historic vote clearly shows the Russian Federation’s isolation from the rest of the international community, he stressed.
The representative of Denmark, speaking also on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden and associating himself with the European Union, said the international community had come together from all corners of the world to “send a resounding ‘yes’” to uphold international law and the United Nations Charter; the principle of sovereign equality of all United Nations Member States; and respect for their territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence. Moreover, the international community had come together to send a resounding message to Ukraine and all Ukrainians. “You are not alone. We stand with you. Today, tomorrow and until peace is restored and Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity are fully restored and respected,” he said, echoing the words of a colleague who had spoken on Tuesday. He urged the Russian Federation and Belarus to “stop the aggression now”. “What you are doing is unacceptable. It is wrong. Your unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is a violation of the core principles that you signed up to when you laid the foundation of this very organization, of this community of nations,” he said.
The representative of Turkey expressed concern about the illegal act of aggression against a founding member of the United Nations “by a permanent member of the very organ entrusted with preserving peace and security”. The ongoing military offensive against Ukraine blatantly violates the fundamental rules of international law, he said, adding that the international community cannot remain spectators. The current resolution emphasizes loudly and clearly that it stands against egregious violations of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of fellow Member States. It is still not too late to go back to the negotiating table, he said, adding that “as a neighbor and friend of both the Russian and Ukrainian people,” Turkey stands ready to support the peace process.
The representative of Poland, reading an open letter written by the spouses of the Presidents of Lithuania and his own country, called on politicians, clergy and concerned citizens across the world to show solidarity with Ukrainian children. A large number of refugees are unaccompanied children fleeing the aggression, he said, adding that their everyday lives are no longer defined by school and time spent with their peers, but rather by bomb shelters. An entire generation of young Ukrainians will bear the scars of this war on their bodies and souls. Continuing to quote the open letter, he underscored that the war is being fought not only in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic but also amid measles and polio epidemics among children. Acknowledging the support received from States and international organizations around the world, he noted that the United Nations wants to allocate $1.7 billion worth of support and called on people of goodwill around the world to do everything possible to end this war.
Eritrea’s representative, who voted against the resolution as well, noted that his country’s experience has demonstrated that all forms of sanctions are counterproductive.
Representatives of several countries, among them Egypt, Nepal, Italy, Jordan, New Zealand and Colombia, expressed solidarity with Ukraine and stressed the crucial importance of peaceful settlement of disputes. “We know what happens in wars,” the representative of Lebanon said, adding that the energy that went into this text should continue to be directed towards a meaningful peace.
The Assembly also heard explanations of vote from delegates that abstained from the vote, with many of them highlighting their misgivings about the resolution and the process of its negotiation.
For example, South Africa’s representative said the current text does not lead to an environment conducive to mediation and could lead to a deeper rift between the parties. Her delegation would also have preferred an open and transparent process in the negotiations towards the text, she added, calling on the international community to go beyond gestures that merely appear to promote peace without ensuring meaningful action.
The representative of China voiced regret that the draft has not undergone full consultations with the entire United Nations membership. He called on the international community to abandon the cold war logic as well as the approach of expanding military blocs to ensure security. Highlighting the need for collective global security, he stressed the need to ensure parties engage in dialogue.
Also speaking during action on the draft resolution were the representatives of Serbia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, India, Bahrain, Iran, Algeria, United Republic of Tanzania, Malaysia and Iraq.
Also making statements after the adoption were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Japan, Ireland, Australia, Costa Rica and Indonesia.