The UN General Assembly in New York has overwhelmingly backed a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began nearly a year ago and called for the withdrawal of troops and a halt to the fighting.
The motion was backed by 141 nations, with 32 abstaining and seven – including Russia, the aggressor – voting against. The UN vote called for peace as soon as possible.
The resolution reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, rejecting any Russian claims to the parts of the country it occupies. In September, MPs in Moscow voted to illegally annex four regions of Ukraine.
The UN also demanded “that the Russian Federation immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” and called for a cessation of hostilities.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the vote “made it clear that Russia must end its illegal aggression. Ukraine’s territorial integrity must be restored.”
President Vladimir Putin sent up to 200,000 soldiers into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in the biggest European invasion since the end of World War II. The devastating war that ensued has left at least 7,199 civilians dead, and possibly hundreds of thousands more injured.
The world has made it clear, time and again, using words, followed by sanctions against the aggressor, and financial aid and military equipment to assist Ukraine’s defense; that Russia’s actions under Vladimir Putin, are unacceptable. And yet, the unprovoked war that Russia started approximately one year ago continues to be fought, with no end currently in sight.
The UN resolution may not be legally binding, but its near unanimity, one year into the war, holds political weight. Russia may not heed the demand of the rest of the world to stop the war, but a united front against it will hopefully make it think twice if it thinks it can bide its time and wait for the international community to lose interest in its staunch defense of beleaguered Ukraine.
All avenues have to be exhausted as the world seeks an end to the war in Ukraine. The economic, military and political pressure against the clear aggressor cannot be let up, and this UN GA resolution hopefully sends a clear message to Russia and its leaders, who are in the best position to stop this war that they started one year ago. It is clear that the rest of the world wants this war to end as soon as possible.*