WHO condemns Russian aggression in Ukraine in rare vote, rejects Moscow’s counter-proposal

  • The first resolution condemns the Russian aggression
  • Russia responds with diplomatic reciprocity
  • China supports Moscow in the WHO vote
  • The World Health Organization has reported 235 attacks on healthcare in Ukraine

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization’s assembly on Thursday approved a motion condemning the regional health emergency caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rejecting a rival resolution by Moscow that did not mention its role in the crisis.

The original proposalbrought in by the United States and about 50 others, condemned Russia’s actions but stopped short of immediately suspending its voting rights at the UN health agency as some had sought earlier.

Both resolutions expressed “grave concerns about the ongoing health emergency in and around Ukraine,” but the only Western-led proposal says the emergency is “caused by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.”

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Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Yevnija Filipenko described the Russian counter-proposal as “a twisted alternative reality”. “The Russian Federation has failed in its ridiculous attempt to deceive this forum,” she said of the outcome. Read more

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Alexander Alimov described the Western proposal as “politicised, biased and biased” against its own. Suggestion “build”. “Manipulation of the World Health Organization is unacceptable,” he said of the result.

China backed Moscow in both votes, with its envoy Yang Qilun saying the WHO was the wrong forum for discussing Ukraine’s health problems. Read more

many absences

The dual votes, a rarity at WHO meetings, are unlikely to have an immediate impact on the conflict, but are seen as an increasingly rare multilateral endorsement of Kyiv’s position more than three months after the Russian invasion began on February 24.

But while the Western-backed motion passed by 88 votes and 12 against, it didn’t resound and there were dozens of abstentions and absences among the WHO’s 194 members.

WHO member states in Europe have already passed a decision that could lead to the closure of the regional office for Russia. Read more

This time, diplomats said they were concerned about pushing Russia too far, given the need to cooperate with the World Health Organization in disease surveillance. Support for Russia’s political condemnations, they said, has also faded, with some seeing Western countries too focused on targeting Russia at the expense of other issues.

The decisions come along with a report by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, which highlights the “devastating” health consequences of the Russian invasion, including 235 attacks on health care as well as a greater number of casualties and life-threatening disruptions to health services.

Moscow describes its actions as a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of what it calls Western-fueled anti-Russian nationalism. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unjustified war of aggression.

Written by Emma Farge. Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Jonathan Otis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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