Russia has used its veto at the United Nations Security Council to scuttle a draft resolution that sought to condemn its annexations of Ukrainian territory.
But even Moscow’s close friends China and India chose to abstain rather than vote against the resolution that condemned the Kremlin’s latest actions in Ukraine.
United States ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield introduced the resolution to the Security Council meeting on Friday that called on member states not to recognize any altered status of Ukraine and obliged Russia to withdraw its troops.
Earlier, the biggest annexation in Europe since World War II was undertaken when Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russian rule over four regions that make up 15 percent of Ukraine’s territory.
The resolution, co-sponsored by the US and Albania, called for the condemnation of the “illegal” referendums held in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine and for all states to not recognize any changes to Ukraine’s borders.
The resolution also called on Russia to withdraw troops immediately from Ukraine, ending an invasion that was launched on February 24.
Ten nations voted in favor of the resolution, while China, Gabon, India and Brazil abstained.
“Not a single country voted with Russia. Not one,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters after the meeting, adding that the abstentions “clearly were not a defense of Russia”.
Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia, who raised his hand to indicate the only vote against the resolution, argued the regions, where Moscow has seized territory by force and where fighting still rages, chose to be part of Russia.
“There will be no turning back as today’s draft resolution would try to impose,” Nebenzia told the meeting.
Ukrainian ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya said the single hand raised against the resolution “again testified to Russia’s isolation and his desperate attempts to deny reality in our common commitments, starting from the UN charter”.
The United Kingdom’s envoy, Barbara Woodward, said Russia had “abused its veto to defend its illegal actions” but said the annexations had “no legal effect”.
“It is a fantasy,” she added.