Co-sponsors of Russia’s humanitarian solution were Belarus, North Korea and Syria. The document states that the UN Security Council called for “a negotiated ceasefire to ensure the speedy, safe, voluntary and unhindered evacuation of all civilians”. For this, it is emphasized that “interested parties” must agree on humanitarian pauses from which it will be possible to withdraw civilians.
The document also states that the UN Security Council requests all parties to ensure full protection of civilians, including medical and humanitarian personnel, their transport, medical facilities and vulnerable people, including women and children. The project calls on all parties to allow people, including foreign citizens, to travel safely and freely outside Ukraine and facilitate safe and unhindered access of humanitarian aid to those in need in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
The text adds that the Council “calls on Member States to fund the United Nations Flash Call for Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine, as well as the Regional Refugee Action Plan for Ukraine”.
In addition, the draft includes a call not to use civilian infrastructure for the deployment of military installations, nor to install military facilities in densely populated areas.
Russia presented the draft humanitarian resolution on Ukraine on March 15. The vote was supposed to take place the next day, but Russia delayed it. Vasily Nebenzya, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, announced that some Western countries pressured other UN members not to support the document. According to him, colleagues from “many delegations” complained of “brutal pressure and arm-twisting by Western partners, up to economic blackmail and threats.”
“We understand how difficult it is for these countries to resist this attack, so we have decided not to request a vote for our project yet,” said Nebenzya.
As a result, only Russia and China supported the decision in the vote held on March 23. The remaining members of the Security Council abstained.
For the council to take a decision, at least nine of the organization’s 15 members must vote for it. Also, if at least one of the five permanent members of the Security Council (Great Britain, China, Russia, the United States, and France) votes against the document, the document will not be accepted, regardless of how many “yes” votes are cast. received. This is the so-called “veto right”. To date, the right of veto has been exercised by all permanent members at various times. The leaders in its implementation remain Russia (taking into account the performances of the USSR) and the United States. Russia/USSR used its veto power 120 times, USA – 82 times.
Russia’s permanent representative to the UN believes that voting on Russia’s humanitarian aid resolution brings Western countries to “clean water”.
“The vote brought to light anyone who thinks that politicizing the humanitarian file is more important than UN aid in providing humanitarian aid to needy Ukrainians. We have heard from some delegations, especially the US delegation, that they do not want to take part in the resolution proposed by Russia. What did you do in such a situation? He would vote against. We are well aware of the main purpose of your reluctance to use your veto right, which you would otherwise use,” he said.
According to him, the UN Security Council’s reluctance to support a humanitarian resolution on Ukraine will allow Kiev to continue to use civilians as human shields and to place heavy weapons near hospitals and kindergartens. As Nebenzya pointed out, while Russia was trying to avoid any politicization while preparing the draft, the West offered its own humanitarian solution, holding Russia solely responsible for the situation in Ukraine.
China, on the other hand, expressed regret over the results of the vote. China’s Permanent Representative to the World Organization, Zhang Jun, said China voted for the resolution because it wanted to convey “the importance of the humanitarian problem in Ukraine” to the international community. He urged the parties to focus on the humanitarian issue, overcome political differences and do everything possible to reach consensus.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia’s humanitarian decision was “full of bullshit”. “We don’t need such a ridiculous solution for humanitarian aid. The United States has provided more than $600 million in aid to the Ukrainian people and will continue to provide as much aid as needed to both Ukraine and neighboring countries that have generously accepted it. [украинцев] and help [им]”said.
The US representative added that Russia is trying to make the Council complicit in its “forced fabrications”. According to the US, the decision should mention that Russia is “the sole cause of the crisis”.
How else did the UN vote for Ukraine?
The day after the start of the Russian special operation, February 25, at the Council taken into account Decision of Western countries calling for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops. In the document, Moscow’s actions were called “aggression” and were referred to in Articles 2.4-9 of the UN Charter (regarding the prohibition or threat of the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of the state). He stated that he violated the article. The initiators of the decision were Albania and the USA. Nebenzya described the document as unilateral and “anti-Russian and anti-Ukrainian”.
11 countries voted for the resolution. China, India and the UAE abstained. Russia used its veto power and blocked the document.
United Nations General Assembly (GA) 2 March accepted Resolution “Aggression against Ukraine”. Its text resembles a draft resolution in which Russia exercises its veto power. The document was co-written by 96 countries. The adopted resolution requires Russia to withdraw its troops and reverse the decision to recognize the independence of the DNR and LNR. The document calls on all parties to implement the Minsk agreements.
Voting through the General Assembly allows you to bypass the veto power of the permanent members. However, unlike the Security Council, decisions taken from the Council are not binding. For a decision to be taken by the General Assembly, it must gather two-thirds of the votes in favour. The number of abstentions is not taken into account.
Of the 193 members of the General Assembly, 141 countries voted in favor, 35 abstained, and Uzbekistan did not participate in the voting. Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea opposed.
Later, on March 4, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) voted on Ukraine’s resolution to set up an independent commission to investigate possible human rights abuses during Russia’s special operation. The commission’s creation was supported by 32 countries, two voted against (Russia and Eritrea) and 13 abstained (including China and Cuba).
Russia’s HRC representative, Gennady Gatilov, noted that the UN Human Rights Observatory Mission in Ukraine has already been operating for three years. “This makes the creation of a new investigative mechanism a waste of funds that could be diverted to helping ordinary citizens of Ukraine. However, all this does not really worry the authors of the resolution, who used any means to put all the responsibility for what happened in Ukraine on Russia, ”the statement said.