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The United Nations votes overwhelmingly to demand that Russia withdraw from Ukraine

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The United Nations has called for a “just and lasting” peace as it demanded an immediate and unconditional Russian withdrawal from Ukraine.

The call came on Thursday after member states voted overwhelmingly on the first anniversary of the war.

Ukraine received strong support in a non-binding vote that saw 141 of the 193 UN members support, seven oppose and 32, including China and India, abstain.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the brutal war, Kiev’s support has changed little from last October when 143 countries voted to condemn Russia’s declared annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

“Today, the UN General Assembly has just spoken very clearly,” said Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief.

“This vote shows that the international community is on Ukraine’s side.”

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called the vote “a strong call for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter”.

The vote came after two days of debate, during which Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the international community to choose between “good and bad”.

He rejected the idea that Kiev only enjoyed the support of the West – the European Union, the United States and their main allies.

“The vote challenges the argument that the Global South is not on Ukraine’s side, because many countries representing Latin America, Africa and Asia voted for it today,” Kuleba said.

“The support is much broader and will only continue to strengthen and consolidate,” he added.

Andrei Yermak, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, expressed his gratitude to all “those who stood by Ukraine in memory of Russia’s unprovoked aggression”.

“The world understands whose side the truth is on,” he said.

“imperial plan”

The resolution reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity”, rejecting any Russian claims to parts of the country it occupies.

It also demanded “the Russian Federation, immediately, completely and unconditionally, withdraw all its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” and called for “a cessation of hostilities.”

The vote demonstrated Moscow’s continued isolation on the world stage after 12 months of war.

He only had the support of six other countries: Belarus, Syria, North Korea, Mali, Nicaragua, and Eritrea.

Despite its limited support, Russia has vetoed any binding motions against it in the United Nations Security Council.

Instead, the United Nations General Assembly took up the issue, showing strong support for Kiev in successive votes.

“Next year, we should not gather here to celebrate the second anniversary of this foolish war of aggression,” Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said during the discussion.

“Russia can and should stop tomorrow,” said French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

“This war waged by Russia is the prerogative of everyone because it threatens the very existence of the state, because it represents an authoritarian and imperial plan, and because it denies the existence of borders.”

But Russia rejected the resolution, and its UN representative Vasily Nebenzia called Ukraine a “neo-Naz” and accused the West of sacrificing the country and the developing world in their desire to conquer Russia.

“They are ready to plunge the whole world into the abyss of war,” Nebenzia said, to maintain their “dominance.”

China and India still abstained from voting

The vote showed that India and China were unmoved by outright condemning Moscow’s invasion, even as they both criticized Moscow’s threats to deploy nuclear weapons in the conflict.

Before the vote, Dai Bing, China’s deputy representative to the United Nations, took a neutral stance, calling on both sides to stop fighting and engage in peace talks.

“We support Russia and Ukraine’s move towards each other, resuming direct dialogue as soon as possible,” he said.

But it also gave voice to one of Russia’s justifications for the invasion, which was that its security was threatened by Ukraine’s tilt toward Western Europe and NATO.

He said any settlement must give “due consideration … to the reasonable security concerns of all nations, and thus appropriately address their legitimate security aspirations”.

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