The United Nations General Assembly met on Wednesday evening for an emergency special session. It condemned the Russian attack on the territory of Ukraine, calling on Russia to cease hostilities and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
At the emergency session, 141 member states voted in favour of a resolution to this effect. 35 states abstained and 12 did not vote. Besides Russia, only Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea voted against the resolution.
Foreign Minister: “This is about all of us”
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made an urgent appeal for the resolution to be approved. “The principles of the United Nations provide the framework for our peace – for an order based on shared rules, international law, cooperation and peaceful conflict resolution. Russia has committed a brutal assault on this order,” she said at the special session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
“That is why this war is not just about Ukraine and not just about Europe – it’s about all of us.” She went on: “Today we all have to make a choice. Between peace and aggression. Between justice and the will of the strongest. Between taking action and looking the other way.”
The UN General Assembly convened for an emergency session for only the eleventh time in its history. Last week, Russia vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council that would have condemned the attack on Ukraine. Russia has a power of veto in the Security Council but not in the UN General Assembly. Unlike the UN Security Council resolution, the General Assembly resolution is not binding under international law, but expresses condemnation of Russia’s actions by the community of nations.
Lies and untruths as justification
Russia was justifying its actions with lies and untruths, said the Foreign Minister. “Russia’s war is a war of aggression. And it is based on shameful lies, which Foreign Minister Lavrov repeated again today at the UN Human Rights Council. You say you are acting out of self-defence. But the whole world has seen how you have been assembling your troops for months in preparation for this attack,” said Baerbock.
She went on: “You say Russia is acting to protect Russian-speaking people from aggression. But today the whole world can see you bombing the houses of Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Kharkiv. You say Russia is sending in peacekeepers. But your tanks are not bringing water, your tanks are not bringing baby food, your tanks are not bringing peace. Your tanks are bringing death and destruction. In reality you are abusing your power as a permanent member of the Security Council.”