UN General Assembly demands Russia withdraw from Ukraine
UN, THE NETHERLANDS, SWITZERLAND: The UN General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that “demands” Russia “immediately” withdraw from Ukraine, in a powerful rebuke of Moscow’s invasion by a vast majority of the world’s nations.
After more than two days of extraordinary debate which saw the Ukrainian ambassador accuse Russia of genocide, 141 out of 193 member states voted for the non-binding resolution.
China was among the 35 countries which abstained, while just five — Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus and of course Russia — voted against it.
The resolution “deplores” the invasion of Ukraine “in the strongest terms” and condemns President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put his nuclear forces on alert. It also makes clear the United Nations is “condemning” Putin’s decision to put his nuclear forces on alert, a move that ignited an immediate outcry from the West.
Nearly every General Assembly speaker unreservedly condemned the war and the risks of military escalation.
“If the United Nations has any purpose, it is to prevent war,” the US ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said during her speech on Wednesday.
Russia’s ally Belarus offered a staunch defence of the invasion, however. Ambassador Valentin Rybakov blasted sanctions imposed by the West on Russia as “the worst example of economic and financial terrorism.”
And he followed other Russian allies such as Syria in condemning the “double standards” of Western nations who have invaded countries including Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan in recent decades.
Japan and New Zealand led condemnation from Asia, but the continent’s giants — China, India and Pakistan — all abstained. During the debate Beijing had stressed the world had “nothing to gain” from a new Cold War. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said Wednesday an active probe into possible war crimes in Ukraine “will immediately proceed” after his office received the backing of 39 countries.
The countries include all EU member states, as well as Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and several Latin American countries.
Meanwhile, Ukraine did not disclose its own military losses but said more than 2,000 civilians have died, a claim that could not be independently verified.
“Most of these casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and air strikes,” it said in a statement issued in Geneva a week after Russia’s invasion began.
Meanwhile, Russia said as many as 498 Russian soldiers died on the battlefield in Ukraine, while another 1,597 suffered injuries, Russia’s RIA news agency said on Wednesday. Russia’s Defence Ministry said over 2,870 Ukrainian troops and “nationalists” were killed and nearly 3,700 injured since the start of its military campaign against its neighbour, a former Soviet state.
– THE BANGKOK POST, INDIAN EXPRESS