Friday, July 19, 2024

Russia wants a secret UN vote on a move to condemn the “annexation” of Ukraine’s regions


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia is pressing for a secret vote instead of a public vote when the 193-member United Nations General Assembly next week considers whether to condemn Moscow’s move to annex four partially occupied regions of Ukraine after organizing what it described as. Referendums.

Ukraine and its allies denounced the votes in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya as illegal and compulsory. A Western-drafted UN General Assembly resolution would condemn the “allegedly illegal referendums” in Russia and the “attempted illegal annexation” of the regions where the vote was taken.

“This is a clearly politicized and provocative development aimed at deepening division in the General Assembly and further alienating its members,” Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, wrote in a letter to UN countries seen by Reuters.

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He argued that the secret ballot was necessary because Western pressure meant that it “could be very difficult if positions were expressed publicly”. Diplomats said the General Assembly would likely have to vote publicly on a secret ballot.

Russia vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member Security Council last week.

“Unless the international community responds, there can be allegations that no one is paying attention and this is now a carte blanche for other countries to do the same or to acknowledge what Russia has done,” Olof Skoog, the European Union’s ambassador to the United Nations, said on Wednesday.

He said the EU was consulting widely with UN member states ahead of a possible vote on Wednesday.

Russia does not fully control any of the four provinces it claims to have annexed, however, and Ukrainian forces have regained control of thousands of square miles of territory since the beginning of September.

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

Then the General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring the referendum invalid by a vote of 100 to 11 against it, with 58 official abstentions, while 24 countries did not participate.

Russia is trying to shake off its international isolation after nearly three-quarters of the General Assembly voted to rebuke Moscow and demand it withdraw its forces within a week of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine on February 24.

Ahead of the General Assembly’s April vote to suspend Russia’s membership of the Human Rights Council, Moscow warned countries that a yes or abstention vote would be considered “unfriendly” with consequences for their relations.

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Reported by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Grant McCall

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Rainerio Manuel
Rainerio Manuel

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