UN General Assembly censures Russia over Ukraine invasion – but a shocking number of countries refused to


NEW YORK CITY — The United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia and demanded that it immediately cease aggression, withdraw its troops and abide by the rules of the UN Charter.

The UN General Assembly, which held a rare emergency session to address Russia’s attack of Ukraine, drafted the resolution, “Aggression against Ukraine,” and then voted on it March 2.

The vote came as Russia attacked Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, which contains about 1.5 million people.

According to Oleksiy Arestovich, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, several Russian planes were shot down over the city.

There were 141 “yes” votes, 5 “no” votes and 35 abstentions.

The five countries that voted “no” included Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, Russia and Syria.

Several supposed allies of Russia that abstained from voting included China, Cuba, India, Iran and Iraq.

Eleven countries were not recorded as voting or abstaining, including Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Morocco, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

AP News reported:

“The abstentions included China and India, as expected, but also some surprises from usual Russian allies Cuba and Nicaragua. And the United Arab Emirates, which abstained on Friday’s similar Security Council resolution, voted ‘yes.’

NFT graphic

“Cuba had spoken in Russia’s defense on Tuesday, with Ambassador Pedro Luis Cuesta blaming the crisis on what he said is the U.S. determination to keep expanding NATO toward Russia’s borders and on the delivery of modern weapons to Ukraine, ignoring Russia’s concerns for its own security.

“He told the assembly the resolution ‘suffers from lack of balance’ and doesn’t begin to address the concerns of both parties, or ‘the responsibility of those who took aggressive actions which precipitated the escalation of this conflict.’”

China’s Ambassador Zhang Jun explained its abstention from voting, citing “dramatic changes of the situation in Ukraine” and calling what is unfolding “heart wrenching,” according to a report by AP News.


Jun reiterated Beijing’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and for the peaceful settlements of all disputes in line with the U.N. Charter and said:

“The top priority right now is to ease the situation on the ground as much as possible, and prevent the situation from escalating or even getting out of control.”

After the vote, there was a standing ovation.

The resolution holds no legal authority, but serves as a symbol of global unity against Russian President Vladimir Putin as only five of the 181 nations present voted against the measure.

Under special emergency session rules, a resolution needs approval of two-thirds of those countries voting, and abstentions do not count.

AP News reported that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters immediately after the vote:

“The message of the General Assembly is loud and clear: End hostilities in Ukraine — now. Silence the guns — now. Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy — now.

“We don’t have a moment to lose. The brutal effects of the conflict are plain to see … It threatens to get much, much worse.”

British Ambassador Barbara Woodward said the vote sent a clear message that the General Assembly condemns Putin and supports Ukraine, according to AP News’ report.

Woodward said:

“We have stood up against those who seek to redraw the world’s borders by threat or use of force.

“For if president Putin’s aggression against Ukraine goes unchecked, which country could be next?”

President Zelenskyy praised the vote via a tweet:

“I praise the approval by the #UN GA with an unprecedented majority of votes of the resolution with a strong demand to Russia to immediately stop the treacherous attack on 🇺🇦. I’m grateful to everyone & every state that voted in favor. You have chosen the right side of history.

“Destructive results of the vote in 🇺🇳 for the aggressor convincingly show that a global anti-Putin coalition has been formed and is functioning. The world is with us. The truth is on our side. Victory will be ours 🇺🇦!”

President Joe Biden commented on the UN’s vote that condemned Russia, saying in part:

“The United Nations condemned Putin. 141 countries voted to do that. In the UN, here in the Assembly. Several abstained. China abstained….India abstained. Seven countries abstained — I think that was the number.

“They’re alone, and they did what they did in my view…because he thought he could split NATO, split Europe and split the United States.

“We’re going to demonstrate to the whole world, no one can split this country.”

Reuters reported that while Brazil had voted for the UN resolution against Russia, it later criticized “indiscriminate sanctions” against the country:

“Brazil’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ronaldo Costa Filho, reaffirmed on Wednesday the country’s position in favor of an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, but said the indiscriminate application of sanctions on Russia does not lead to the reconstruction of dialogue.

“He made his statement minutes after the UN General Assembly voted to reprimand Russia for invading Ukraine and demanded that Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces.”

Brazil’s ambassador warned:

“The resolution cannot be seen as something that allows the indiscriminate application of sanctions.

“These initiatives do not lead to the reconstruction of a diplomatic dialogue and it brings consequences that go beyond the current situation.”

Reuters further reported that Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who previously visited Putin before the invasion of Ukraine, said Brazil would remain neutral in the conflict.

Bolsonaro mentioned Brazil’s reliance on Russian fertilizers that are crucial for the country’s giant agribusiness sector.

A death toll of at least 2,000 Ukrainians was reported by the Ukraine State Emergency Service.

In addition, the foreign ministry claimed that over 5,000 Russian soldiers had been killed since fighting began one week ago, according to a FOX News report.

According to a separate FOX News report, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson Liz Throssell explained that many of the deaths are caused by wide-impact explosives:

“Most of these casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area.

“This includes shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems and airstrikes.”

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