The vote on the Ukraine war in the UN General Assembly is a global mood test – which Ukraine’s supporters passed. Despite impressive support, important countries abstained.
On the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world community has once again called on President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops by a large majority. #
141 of the 193 member states of the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a corresponding resolution on Thursday. The vote in the United Nations’ largest body is seen as a global mood test on Russia’s war of aggression. Commenting on the result in New York, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) said: “With its war drive, Russia is just as isolated as it was a year ago.”
In addition to 32 abstentions, there were six countries, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua and Syria, who voted against the draft together with Moscow. More than ten countries did not take part in the vote, including Senegal, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.
The world united – with some drawbacks
The resolution in the UN General Assembly contains the demand for peace and Moscow’s withdrawal. The draft reaffirms a number of previously agreed positions of the body and, among other things, provides for the preservation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Kiev and its supporters thus followed up on similar voting results from last year with more than 140 “yes” votes. With the clear result, they want to counteract the impression that there is war weariness and crumbling support for Ukraine in parts of the world.
In March, shortly after the war began, the Assembly rejected Russia’s invasion by a majority of 141 of the 193 votes. In October, 143 nations condemned Moscow’s illegal annexations in Ukraine.
As in previous votes, China and India, two powerful countries with a combined population of around 2.8 billion, abstained. The important countries Brazil, Turkey and Saudi Arabia voted in favor of the bill, while South Africa and Iran abstained. While almost all South American countries agreed, a number of African countries again abstained.
“Today, each of us has to make a decision: stand in isolation with the oppressor – or stand together for peace,” Baerbock said in her speech before the vote. “If Russia stops fighting, this war will end. If Ukraine stops fighting, it will be the end of Ukraine.” Baerbock delivered her speech at Ukraine’s request as the last regular speaker before the vote. She then explained that the result showed: “The world wants peace.” The states of the world would have made that clear together. “And we stand together against the breach of international law.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was also satisfied: “It doesn’t matter what Russia tries and how it tries to undermine the international order and the coalition in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity – it fails one after the other.”
Baerbock is campaigning massively for approval in the Global South
In the past few days, the minister had campaigned for approval of the resolution, especially in countries of the so-called Global South – also on the fringes of the security conference in Munich last weekend. Most recently, she held talks with representatives from South Africa, India, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Brazil.
The Germans were particularly counting on the approval of the new government of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – the country is considered a key state for the countries of the Global South. The Brazilian government had been asked to submit text proposals – these then flowed into the work on the draft.
What about China’s peace plan announcement?
On the fringes of the General Assembly, Baerbock called on China to follow up on its announcements with action and to present a peace plan under the umbrella of the UN Charter. This is necessary because China, as a member of the UN Security Council, not only has veto rights, “but as a member has a special responsibility to restore world peace.” Therefore, a real peace plan supported by China is necessary.
China’s UN representative Dai Bing had previously announced a corresponding position paper from his government. He also criticized arms deliveries to Ukraine and a “Cold War mentality”. Apparently towards Moscow, he stressed that the use of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable.
Behind the scenes at the UN, there had long been discussions about how substantial a resolution on the anniversary of the invasion could be. According to UN sources, Ukraine had been working on resolutions outlining a war crimes tribunal and text that would translate a ten-point peace plan by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into a UN document. Both ideas were abandoned for Thursday’s vote.
The text that has now been adopted contains rather vague formulations about the end of the war: it says that achieving a comprehensive peace, which is necessary, would “make a significant contribution to strengthening world peace and international security”. It also calls for a full exchange of prisoners of war and stresses the need for those responsible for the most serious war crimes to be held accountable.
Guterres is pessimistic
After twelve months of war, however, peace negotiations in the most serious military conflict on European soil since the Second World War seem a long way off: “In the past year we have not only seen suffering and devastation grow, it is also becoming increasingly clear how much worse things could get.” , UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday before the General Assembly. The danger of a continuing spiral of conflict is clear and very concrete. “By now we have heard implicit threats about the use of nuclear weapons. The so-called tactical use of nuclear weapons is absolutely unacceptable.”
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.