The UN publicly rejects Russia’s call for a secret vote on Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 10 (Reuters) – The United Nations General Assembly voted on Monday to reject Russia’s call for the 193-member body to hold a secret vote later this week on whether to condemn Moscow’s move to annex four partially occupied regions in Ukraine.

The General Assembly decided by 107 votes that it would hold a public vote – not a secret vote – on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s “illegal so-called referendums” and “attempted illegal annexation”. Diplomats said the vote on the resolution was likely to take place on Wednesday or Thursday.

Only 13 countries opposed holding a public vote on the draft resolution on Monday, another 39 countries abstained and the remaining countries – including Russia and China – did not vote.

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Russia had argued that Western lobbying meant that “it can be very difficult if positions are expressed publicly.” During the meeting on Monday, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia questioned the push to condemn Moscow.

“What does this have to do with peace and security or trying to resolve conflicts?” Nebenzia said, describing it as “one more step towards division and escalation, which I’m sure is not something the absolute majority of states in this room need.”

After the General Assembly decided on Monday that it would hold a public vote on the draft resolution, Russia immediately tried to get the body to reconsider the issue, but it largely failed.

Moscow has moved to annex four partially occupied regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – after organizing what it called referendums. Ukraine and allies have condemned the vote as illegal and coercive.

The draft UN General Assembly resolution calls on states not to recognize Russia’s actions and affirms Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The United Nations headquarters building is pictured with a United Nations logo in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

‘BLOOD TRACE’

Ukraine’s UN ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya called on countries to defend the principles of the UN’s fundamental charter.

“A trail of blood is left behind the Russian delegation as it enters the General Assembly and the hall is filled with the smell of smoldering human flesh. This is what we have tolerated in Syria. This is what is happening today in Ukraine,” he said. general meeting on Monday.

Russia rained down cruise missiles on busy Ukrainian cities on Monday in what the United States called “horrific attacks” that killed civilians and unleashed power and heat in its most widespread airstrikes since the start of the war more than seven months ago.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed the international community earlier on Monday to make clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions were “completely unacceptable”.

“Now is the time to speak out in support of Ukraine; it is not the time to abstain, soften words or equivocate under the guise of neutrality. The core principles of the UN Charter are at stake,” Blinken said in a statement.

Russia vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member Security Council last month. It has sought to break its international isolation after nearly three-quarters of the General Assembly rebuked Moscow and demanded it withdraw its troops within a week of its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

The actions at the UN mirror what happened in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea. In the Security Council, Russia vetoed a draft resolution opposing a referendum on Crimea’s status and urging countries not to recognize it.

The General Assembly then passed a resolution declaring the referendum invalid by 100 votes in favor, 11 against and 58 formal abstentions, with two dozen countries not participating.

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Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Alistair Bell and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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