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UN Security Council defeats Russia humanitarian resolution on Ukraine

The UN Security Council defeated a Russian resolution that would have acknowledged Ukraine's growing humanitarian needs -- but without mentioning the Russian invasion that caused the escalating crisis

UN Security Council defeats Russia humanitarian resolution on Ukraine

AP United Nations
The UN Security Council on Wednesday defeated a Russian resolution that would have acknowledged Ukraine's growing humanitarian needs -- but without mentioning the Russian invasion that caused the escalating crisis.
To pass, the resolution needed a minimum of nine yes votes in the 15-member council, and no veto by any of the four other members with veto power. But in Wednesday's vote, Russia got support only from China, with the 13 other council members abstaining.
The Russian defeat came on the same day the General Assembly started consideration of a resolution drafted by Ukraine and two dozen other countries from all parts of the world and co-sponsored by nearly 100 nations which clearly states that Russia's aggression is responsible for the growing humanitarian emergency.
The assembly was also to consider a rival South African resolution that makes no mention of Russia and is similar to the defeated Security Council resolution.
Russia introduced its resolution on March 15. A day earlier, France and Mexico decided to move their proposed humanitarian resolution blaming the Russian invasion for the humanitarian crisis out of the Security Council, where it faced a Russian veto. The are no vetoes in the 193-member General Assembly.
Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the assembly that by considering the French-Mexican resolution, it was engaging in another political anti-Russian show, set this time in an allegedly humanitarian context. If Western nations were really concerned about the humanitarian situation on the ground, he said, they could show it by voting for Russia's humanitarian resolution in the Security Council.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield vehemently objected when Russia announced Tuesday that it was calling for the Security Council vote on Wednesday, saying: Russia is the aggressor here, and it is absolutely unconscionable for Russia to think that they can put forward a humanitarian resolution.
Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsy urged all nations that stand against Russia's war on his country to vote for a U.N. resolution on the humanitarian consequences of its aggression, saying this would send a powerful message aimed at helping people caught in the conflict and ending Moscow's military action.
Russia's U.N. envoy countered that the emergency special session of the U.N. General Assembly, which is considering the resolution, is just another political anti-Russian show, set this time in an allegedly humanitarian context. Nebenzia urged the assembly's 193 member nations to vote against the Ukrainian-backed measure and support the South African draft resolution that focuses solely on humanitarian issues with no political assessment.
Ukraine's and Russia's ambassadors were among the first of nearly 70 national representatives scheduled to speak before the assembly votes on the rival resolutions on the humanitarian impact of the war, which will mark its one-month anniversary Thursday.
Kyslytsya said the Ukraine-backed assembly resolution, drafted by two dozen diplomats from all parts of the world and cosponsored by nearly 100 countries, focuses on the need to alleviate suffering and for "immediate cessation of hostilities by the Russian Federation.
The intention of the initiators and cosponsors of the draft resolution is to ensure the words are translated into prompt actions on the ground," he said. It will be critical to prevent the spillover effect for the entire world" which is why the text mentions the conflict's impact on food and energy security, especially for least-developed countries.
Nebenzia warned that adoption of that draft will make a resolution to the situation in Ukraine more difficult. That's because it will likely embolden Ukrainian negotiators and nudge them to maintaining the current unrealistic position, which is not related to the situation on the ground, nor to the need to tackle the root causes of Russia's military action, he said.
Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but they do have clout in reflecting international opinion.
The Ukraine-backed draft reiterates the demand of a March 2 resolution adopted by the assembly that Russia immediately stop its military offensive in Ukraine and withdraw all its troops, and it demands protection for all civilians and infrastructure indispensable to their survival.
The draft deplores the dire humanitarian consequences of Russia's aggression against Ukraine which it says are on a scale that the international community has not seen in Europe in decades. And it deplores Russia's shelling, airstrikes and besiegement of densely populated cities, particularly the southern city of Mariupol.
The proposed resolution strongly condemns attacks directed at civilians and civilian objects, including evacuation convoys, and demands that all parties protect civilians fleeing armed conflict and violence. It further demands unhindered access for aid workers, including their transport, supplies and equipment.
The South African draft calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities as a first step in ameliorating the deteriorating humanitarian situation and encourages political dialogue, negotiations, mediation and other peaceful means aimed at achieving lasting peace. It makes no mention of Russia's aggression.
Russian authorities maintain they did not start the war and have repeatedly and falsely decried reports of Russian military setbacks or civilian deaths in Ukraine as fake news. State media outlets and government officials insist Russian troops target only military facilities.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 24 2022 | 8:04 AM IST

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