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UN Calls For Russia To Withdraw From Ukraine

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The United Nations (UN) has called for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. This came after a vote where the majority voted overwhelmingly in favor of the decision. The call for a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” comes after the two countries have been at odds and in battle for a year now, with the UN demanding unconditional withdrawal.

UN Voter Turnout In The Russo-Ukraine Conflict Resolution Mission

The decision was made on Thursday night when out of the 180 member countries of the UN, 141 voted in favor, seven voted against, and 32 were absent.

Citing Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, on the voter turnout:

By voting in favor of today’s UN general assembly resolution, 141 UN member states made it clear that Russia must end its illegal aggression. Ukraine’s territorial integrity must be restored. One year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion, global support for Ukraine remains strong.

South Africa’s position in the conflict is that “principles of territorial integrity in the UN Charter were sacred, and applies in the case of Ukraine.” However, they insisted that the resolution was not value-adding to the cause of peace.

Among the absentees on the Thursday night vote were China and Thailand. As regards Thailand, their abstinence was because it did not want to become involved in a morality play as “billions of bystanders were bearing the brunt of the war.” On the other hand, China’s position in the Russo-Ukrainian war is inclined towards Russia, with Chinese deputy envoy to the UN, Dai Bing saying:

The west was throwing fuel onto the fire by arming Ukraine. That would only exacerbate tensions.

Mr. Bing, who led the absentee cohort, also noted, “One year into the Ukraine crisis, the conflict is still grinding and growing in scale, wreaking havoc on countless lives. A spillover effect is intensifying. We are deeply worried about this. China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be observed. The legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously.

The seven who voted against include Belarus, Mali, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, North Korea, and Eritrea.

Based on the voter numbers, however, Ukraine’s allies have narrowly improved on numbers compared to October after Russia annexed republics in the east of Ukraine. During the October vote, 143 countries supported the resolution, five voted against it, and 35 member countries were absent.   Two is a significant difference.

The Sovereignty And Territorial Integrity Of All Countries Should Be Respected

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock strongly rebutted the remarks of the Chinese envoy to the UN, Dai Bing. The German envoy denied the claim that the west was engaging in military spending instead of focusing on other priorities that were more value-adding to the common people. In her argument, foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said it was misleading to say that military support in favor of Ukraine was worsening the crisis because if the west did not provide support, Russia, the aggressor, would freely capture Ukraine and shred the UN Charter.

Notably, the United Nations Security Council is responsible for maintaining international peace and security. As Russia’s veto power has paralyzed this responsibility, the most important body of the UN dealing with Ukraine is the General Assembly. However, it should be noted that General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding and only serve as a valuable barometer of world opinion, unlike resolutions made by the Security Council- these are legally binding.

French Envoy To the UN: “Abstinence Is Siding With Aggressor”

The French were among the European states that traveled to New York for the debate before the vote. Their representative, foreign minister Catherine Colonna cautioned that those who abstained would, in fact, be siding with the aggressor.

According to her, no one could be at peace in such a world where a sovereign with nuclear weapon capabilities and a member of the permanent Security Council could decide to attack its neighbor at its own discretion. In her words:

Russia is trying to convince some of you that its attempts to upset the world order and impose a strength-based order will work in their favor. This is an illusion. The facts bear this out. It was Russia and Russia alone that wanted the war.

Notably, Russia attempted to terminate its isolation by blaming the west, saying, “they poured arms into the region.” They also blamed the western sanctions for the ongoing hunger crisis.

On their part, ally countries of Ukraine had attempted to hold resolution talks in an effort to end the conflict. As part of the resolution endeavors, the allies insisted Ukraine was open for dialogue. This came after the allies persuaded the removal of planned assertions of taking Russia’s leadership to a special committee on charges of committing war crimes. According to a cohort of UN member countries on Ukraine’s side, such a move would only make the search for peace more elusive.

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