The United Nations General Assembly isolates Russia by an overwhelming majority again over Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Nearly three-quarters of the United Nations General Assembly demanded aid access and the protection of civilians in Ukraine on Thursday, criticizing Russia for creating an “appalling” humanitarian situation after Moscow invaded its neighbor a month ago.

It is the second time that the 193-member General Assembly has overwhelmingly isolated Russia over what Moscow calls a “special military operation” said to be aimed at destroying Ukraine’s military infrastructure.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has criticized Russia’s “futile war”. Thousands have been killed in Ukraine, millions have taken refuge, and cities have been crushed in the past month. Read more

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The resolution adopted Thursday, drafted by Ukraine and its allies, received 140 votes in favor and five against — Russia, Syria, North Korea, Eritrea and Belarus — while 38 countries, including China, abstained.

General Assembly resolutions are not binding but carry political weight. There was a round of applause in the hall after its adoption on Thursday.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, described the resolution adopted on Thursday as a “false humanitarian project” that takes a “one-sided view of the situation.” He again accused Western countries of waging an “unprecedented pressure” campaign to win votes, a claim the United States rejected.

Ukraine and its allies were looking to match or improve the support they received for a March 2 General Assembly resolution that denounced Russian “aggression” and demanded that it withdraw its forces. That got 141 yes votes, the same as the five no, while 35 countries – including China – abstained. Read more

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amazing success

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, called Thursday’s vote an “amazing success”, telling reporters: “There is no difference between 141 and 140.”

The resolution adopted Thursday calls for the protection of civilians, medical personnel, aid workers, journalists, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure. It also demands an end to the siege of cities, in particular Mariupol.

Ukraine and its Western allies accused Moscow of indiscriminately attacking civilians. Moscow denies attacking civilians.

The resolution echoes the General Assembly’s March 2 text demanding once again that Moscow stop the fighting and withdraw its forces from Ukraine.

South Africa had proposed a rival draft resolution focused on the humanitarian situation and did not mention Russia. Russia has appealed to countries to support this text.

The General Assembly decided not to take action on the South African draft after calling on Ukraine to vote under a rule covering draft resolutions on the same issue.

The General Assembly vote came a day after a Russian-drafted draft resolution calling for aid access and the protection of civilians in Ukraine — not to mention Moscow’s role — failed at the United Nations Security Council, with only Russia and China voting yes and the remaining 13 abstentions. Read more

The draft of the Russian Security Council is very similar to the text submitted by South Africa to the General Assembly.

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(Reporting by Michelle Nichols) Editing by Jonathan Otis and Alistair Bell

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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