UNITED NATIONS –
Russia on Friday vetoed a UN resolution that would have condemned its referendums in four Ukrainian regions as illegal, declared them invalid and urged all countries not to recognize any annexation of territory claimed by Moscow.
The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 10-1 with China, India, Brazil and Gabon abstaining.
The resolution would also have demanded an immediate end to Russia’s “large-scale illegal invasion of Ukraine” and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all its military forces from Ukraine.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said before the vote that, should Russia veto, the US and Albania, which sponsored the resolution, will take it to the 193-member General Assembly where there are no vetoes, ” and will show that the world is still on the side of sovereignty and the protection of territorial integrity.”
That is likely to happen next week.
Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, echoed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s statement that Russia’s actions violate the UN Charter and must be condemned.
“The area that Russia intends to annex is more than 90,000 square kilometers,” he said. “This is the largest forced annexation of territory since World War II. There is no middle ground on this.”
The council’s vote came hours after a lavish Kremlin ceremony in which President Vladimir Putin signed treaties to annex the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, saying they were now part of Russia and would be defended by Moscow.
Thomas-Greenfield said the results of “bogus” referendums on whether regions wanted to join Russia were “predetermined in Moscow, and everyone knows it.” “They were held behind the barrel of the Russian guns,” he said.
Adding that “the sacred principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity” at the heart of the UN Charter must be upheld, he said: “All of us understand the implications for our own borders, our own economies, and our own countries if these principles are abandoned.” side.”
“Putin miscalculated the determination of the Ukrainians,” said Thomas-Greenfield. “The Ukrainian people have demonstrated loud and clear: they will never accept being subjugated to Russian rule.”
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia defended the referendums, saying that more than 100 international observers from Italy, Germany, Venezuela and Latvia who observed the vote recognized the results as legitimate.
“The results of the referendums speak for themselves. The residents of these regions do not want to return to Ukraine. They have made an informed and free decision in favor of our country,” he said.
Nebenzia added: “There will be no going back as today’s draft resolution would try to impose.”
He accused Western nations in the council of “openly hostile actions”, saying they reached “a new low” by introducing a resolution condemning a council member and forcing a Russian veto so they can “get lyrical”.
Under a resolution adopted earlier this year, Russia must defend its veto before the General Assembly in the coming weeks.
Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be safeguarded.” But China abstained, he said, because it believes the Security Council should try to defuse the crisis “rather than escalate conflicts and exacerbate confrontation.”
Brazil’s ambassador, Ronaldo Costa Filho, said that the referendums “cannot be perceived as legitimate” and that his country defends the principle of territorial integrity of sovereign states. But he abstained because the resolution did not help de-escalate tensions and find “a solution to the conflict in Ukraine,” he said.