- Nadia Sampurno
THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONDEMNS THE RUSSIAN INVASION
Source: BBC News
The United Nations General Assembly in New York has issued a resounding condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which occurred almost a year ago.
The resolution, which was supported by 141 nations and opposed by only seven (including Russia), called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and an immediate end to the fighting. The motion also affirmed support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, rejecting any Russian claims to the regions of Ukraine that it currently occupies.
The UN vote took place one day before the first anniversary of Russia's invasion and was accompanied by a walkout of delegates from a parliamentary session of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. The OSCE walkout and the UN resolution both underscored the international community's strong opposition to Russia's aggression in Ukraine.
Although the UN resolution is not legally binding, it carries significant political weight and represents a powerful statement of global support for Ukraine. While the majority of nations voted in favour of the resolution, there were notable abstentions from countries such as China, India, Iran, and South Africa. The seven countries that voted against the resolution were Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, and Syria.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hailed the UN resolution as a clear message to Russia that its illegal aggression in Ukraine must come to an end. He emphasised that the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity is essential and that global support for Ukraine remains strong, even one year after Russia launched its invasion.
The decision to grant visas to the Russian delegation at the OSCE in Vienna has caused uproar, with Ukraine and Lithuania boycotting the session entirely in protest. Austria's decision to invite officials from Moscow, despite some being under EU sanctions, has been heavily criticised. The Austrian government argued that it was obliged to do so under international law as the OSCE has its headquarters in Vienna. However, many delegates have expressed their disgust at the Russian presence, describing it as an "elephant in the room". Latvian MP Rihards Kols went further, calling it a "disgrace" that they were allowed to take part.
During the Russian delegate's address, a large number of delegates staged a walkout, visibly demonstrating their disapproval. Vladimir Dzhabarov, the Russian delegate, then ridiculed the delegates who walked out, repeating false claims that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was a battle against nationalists and Nazis who Moscow claims are leading the Kyiv government. The OSCE was established in 1975 with the aim of improving relations between the Western and Eastern blocs. Its current membership includes members of NATO and Russia's allies.
The current situation in Ukraine is dire, with President Vladimir Putin sending up to 200,000 soldiers into the country in February 2022, marking the largest European invasion since the end of World War Two. The war that ensued has been devastating, resulting in the deaths of at least 7,199 civilians and leaving thousands more injured, according to UN estimates. However, the real number of casualties is likely to be much higher.
The controversy surrounding the OSCE meeting underscores the deep divisions that exist between Russia and the West. The situation in Ukraine continues to escalate, with no end in sight to the conflict. The international community must come together to find a peaceful solution to the crisis and hold those responsible for the violence accountable. In the meantime, it is essential that international organisations such as the OSCE remain impartial and committed to promoting peace and stability in the region.