Russia vetoed Friday’s U.N. Security Council resolution requesting that Moscow cease its attack on Ukraine, and withdraw all troops. This defeat was something the United States and its backers knew was inevitable, but claimed would emphasize Russia’s isolation.
The vote was 11 for Russia, India, China and the United Arab Emirates. This showed that there was significant opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion and military defeat of their smaller, but equally important, neighbor.
Supporters can now call for a quick vote in the 193-member U.N. General Assembly to approve a similar resolution. There are no vetoes. It was not immediately clear when an assembly vote would take place.
After the vote was delayed by two hours, the United States and Albania co-sponsored it. Their supporters worked behind the scenes to convince other nations to support it. The diplomatic success of China’s decision not to use its veto along with its usual ally Russia was seen as China’s abstain.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.
She told her Russian counterpart, “But let’s make it clear: Russia, although you can veto the resolution, you cannot veto their voices.” You cannot veto truth. Our principles cannot be vetoed. You can’t veto the Ukrainian people.”
Brazil’s Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho said that his country is “gravely worried” about Russia’s military actions. He said, “A line has been crossed and this council cannot continue to remain silent.”
The Russian U.N. Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia reaffirmed his country’s claim that it was standing up for the people of eastern Ukraine. For eight years, Russian-backed separatists have been fighting against the government. He said that the West ignored Ukrainian abuses in Ukraine.
“You have made Ukraine a player in your geopolitical games, without any concern whatsoever about Ukrainian people’s interests,” he stated, calling the failure to resolve the issue “nothing but another brutal, inhumane maneuver in this Ukrainian chessboard.”
China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun stated that China’s U.N. abstention was necessary because diplomatic solutions must be sought and that any response from the Security Council should be considered with caution, rather than adding fuel to the fire. He also echoed Russian claims about NATO’s growth over the years.
Zhang stated that Russia’s legitimate security aspirations must be addressed and given attention. He also said that Ukraine should become a bridge between east-west and not an outpost for confrontation with major powers.
Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward described Russia’s claim of self-defense as “absurd.”
She stated that Russia’s only act in self-defense was the vote they cast today against this resolution.
Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya accused Russia for “war crimes”.
He told Russia’s Nebenia, “There will not be hospitality for your troops on our territory.”
Kyslytsya stated that you can’t stop a vote being held in this chamber. “But unfortunately, the bodies and thousands of Russian soldiers bodies that will be delivered in Russia to their mothers — regardless of your inclination — may not stop the war. We have to defend our territory. We must defend ourselves.”
Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary General, recalled to reporters that the United Nations was created out of war to end all wars.
He said, “Today that objective wasn’t achieved.” “But we should not give up. “We must give peace another chance.”
To gain additional support, the resolution’s supporters had agreed that they would weaken it. They removed the Chapter 7 clause of the U.N. Charter that could be enforced militarily and language stating “that Ukraine’s situation constitutes a breach international peace and security” and “that Russia has committed acts against Ukraine.”
The council, in the draft that was submitted for a vote, would have condemned Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine “in strongest terms” and demanded an immediate halt of its use of force as well as the unconditional, complete, and immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces and forces from Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders.
It would have condemned Russia’s February 21 decision to declare areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk or Luhansk independent. And it would have asked Russia to “immediately, unconditionally reverse the decision.”
Representatives of 27 European Union countries stood outside the Security Council chamber to support Ukraine’s yellow and blue flags with Kyslytsya, in a gesture of solidarity.
Legally binding, the Security Council resolution would have been. General Assembly resolutions don’t have legal binding force, but reflect world opinion.
The U.S. ambassador Thomas-Greenfield stated that supporters of the resolution would bring up the topic of Russia’s invasion at the assembly, where “the nations can, will, and should hold Russia responsible and stand in solidarity for Ukraine.”
She said that Russia cannot and would not veto accountability, while being surrounded by dozens ambassadors from other countries.