India abstains on UNGA resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories
New Delhi: For the fourth time at the UN General Assembly this year, India abstained on a resolution criticizing Russia.
This time, the abstention came as the UN’s top decision-making body condemned the annexation of four territories in eastern Ukraine after a unilateral referendum.
The resolution was adopted with 143 votes for and 5 against, including Russia. India, China and 33 other countries abstained while 10 countries, including Iran, did not vote.
This is the fourth time the UN General Assembly has voted and adopted a resolution denouncing Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.
After the vote, India said abstention was the only way forward as the draft resolution did not address many concerns, without giving further details. “There are other pressing issues at stake, some of which were not adequately addressed in the resolution voted on today. Our decision to abstain is in line with our well-considered national position,” said India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj.
She said that as developing countries face the brunt of the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine, it was essential that “the voice of the countries of the South be heard and their legitimate concerns duly taken into account”.
“We must therefore not take measures that further complicate a struggling global economy,” Kamboj said.
She reaffirmed that the world order was based on the principles of “international law, the Charter of the United Nations and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all States”, and that it must be maintained ” without exception “.
Calling for a speedy resumption of peace talks, Kamboj said, “Dialogue is the only answer to settling disputes and disputes, as daunting as that may seem at this time. The path to peace requires us to keep open all channels of diplomacy.”
Stating that the resolution would not be helpful in calming tempers, she said India hoped for speedy peace talks leading to a ceasefire and resolution of the conflict. “India is ready to support all these efforts aimed at de-escalation,” Kamboj said, after hitting the abstain button.
Entitled “Defend the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”, the resolution noted that the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia were under “the temporary military control of the Russian Federation, following an aggression, in violation of sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
Furthermore, he called on all member states not to recognize Russia’s annexation and demanded that Moscow reconsider its decisions.
Furthermore, the resolution commends and “expresses its strong support” for the continued efforts of the Secretary-General and Member States to defuse the current situation in the search for peace through dialogue, negotiation and mediation.
Last month, Russia announced the annexation of four regions of Ukraine after holding “referendums”. This led the West to table a draft resolution in the Security Council, which Russia vetoed.
With Russia having vetoed any unfavorable resolutions at the UN Security Council, the 193-member General Assembly has become the key platform for introducing resolutions that are critical of Moscow on Ukraine.
After the invasion, the first resolution against Russian “aggression” was adopted on March 2 with 141 votes for, 5 against and 35 abstentions. Three weeks later, the The UNGA again voted in the same direction, calling for the protection of civilians and accusing Russia of generating a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The second resolution was adopted with a margin of 140 yes, five no and 38 abstentions.
In April, the UNGA met again to vote on a resolution suspend Russia from the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. As the resolution passed, the number of countries voting in favor dropped drastically to 93. Instead, more than half of the general assembly either voted or abstained – abstentions soared to 58, while that negative votes have increased to 24.
The voting margin reflected the perception of many countries that the decision to expel Russia from the HRC was premature, while much of the Global South feared being forced to take sides in a European war.
The jump in numbers supporting Wednesday’s resolution – compared to March and even the 2014 Resolution on Crimea – was also a reflection of a concerted diplomatic campaign for the West. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken convened a virtual meeting with diplomats from more than 100 countries on Tuesday.
When the emergency session started on Monday, Albania, one of the co-sponsors, preempted Russia’s decision and proposed a recorded vote for an open ballot to decide the draft resolution. It was approved with 107 votes in favour, with India also voting in favour.
Russia then tried to overturn the decision and called for a secret ballot, but failed to win UNGA approval.
India has previously voted on procedural issues against Russia, but has always abstained on resolutions condemning Moscow.
Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia claimed that developing countries had been coerced into voting by economic “blackmail” from the West.
He also said the resolution was “politicized and overtly provocative”, adding that it “could undo all efforts for a diplomatic solution to the crisis”.
China abstained on Wednesday because it did not believe the resolution would help, said China’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Geng Shuang.
“Any action taken by the General Assembly should be conducive to the de-escalation of the situation, be conducive to the early resumption of dialogue and should be conducive to promoting a political solution to this crisis,” he said. .
(With entries from Reuters)