On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly to reprimand Russia for its recent display of “aggression against Ukraine” during a rare emergency session called by the UN Security Council.
The assembly successfully passed a resolution seeking to diplomatically isolate Russia, with support expressed by 141 of its 193 members.
In addition to deploring “the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine in violation of Article 2, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter,” the resolution also demanded that Russia “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”
The final tally of votes reflected 35 nations abstaining and five voting against the resolution. Among those who voted against is North Korea, the lone Asian nation to side with Russia.
In defense of its “no” vote, North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Kim Song said, “The root cause of the Ukraine crisis lies in the hegemonic policy of the United States and the West,” who “indulge themselves in high-handedness and arbitrariness towards other countries.”
Ten Asian countries chose to abstain their votes, including Bangladesh, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Vietnam. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were absent at the vote.
In explaining its abstention, China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun expressed that what is happening in Ukraine is “heart-wrenching,” while also describing it as “highly complex and sensitive.”
Among the Asian countries that voted in favor are resolution cosponsors Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Timor-Leste. Afghanistan (former government), Bhutan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (former government), the Maldives, Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand also voted in support of it.
Expressing its support for the resolution, South Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Cho Hyun said, “My country still exists today because the peoples of the United Nations at the time stood up immediately to the cries of the innocent lives. This is why my delegation does not see the situation in Ukraine as some distant tragedy.”
Before casting his vote, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya condemned the “open and cynical threats” of those pushing for the resolution. According to the envoy, the resolution will not help in ending the war in Ukraine.
Featured Image via United Nations