On 2 March, the UN General Assembly adopted — by an overwhelming majority of 141 against 5 — a resolution rejecting the Russian Federation’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and demanding that Russia immediately withdraw its forces and abide by international law.
The resolution was prepared by the European Union hand in hand with Ukraine and countries from all regions of the world, immediately after the UN Security Council was prevented from acting by a Russian veto on 25 February.
The resolution “deplores in the strongest terms” the aggression by Russia and affirms the international community’s commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine. It also calls for unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance.
The text was approved by 141 countries. Only five UN member states voted against it: Russia, Belarus, DPRK (North Korea), Eritrea and Syria. Many of Russia’s closest partners did not follow their voting pattern.
Upon the successful adoption of the resolution, EU Ambassador to the UN in New York Olof Skoog stressed the historic nature of this vote: “The world has spoken. The Russian government must immediately stop the aggression, withdraw its troops, and abide by the rules of the UN Charter that apply to all, equally.”
He added, “by voting overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, we have chosen to defend peace where Russia has chosen brutal aggression. We have chosen to defend this organisation and its Charter where Russia has violated the fundamentals of both. Russia stands increasingly alone.”
Although General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, their political weight is essential, especially in cases where the UNSC has been unable to act.
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