The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution Thursday calling for an end to hostilities in Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian forces. The resolution, drafted by Ukraine in consultation with its allies, passed 141-7, with 32 abstentions. This vote was slightly lower than the 143 countries that voted in favor of an October resolution against Russia’s illegal annexations. Countries voting against Thursday’s resolution included Belarus, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, North Korea, Eritrea and Mali.
The vote highlighted the importance of the General Assembly in addressing the conflict in Ukraine, as the Security Council is rendered incapacitated by Russia’s veto power. Foreign ministers and diplomats from more than 75 countries addressed the assembly during two days of debate. Many urged support for the resolution that upholds Ukraine’s territorial integrity, a basic principle of the U.N. Charter.
Venezuela’s deputy ambassador addressed the council on behalf of 16 countries that either voted against or abstained on almost all of five previous resolutions on Ukraine. He called for all countries to “stringently comply with the United Nations Charter” and urged the international community to “facilitate peace talks.” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell commented that the aggressor and the victim cannot be put on equal terms.
The conflict in Ukraine has had a global impact, with higher food and fuel costs, rising inflation, and tens of thousands dead on both sides. Ukraine has been trying to win support from around the world, while Russia and China have been increasingly aligning their foreign policies to oppose the U.S.-led international order. Countries in Africa in particular have been caught up in the diplomatic wrangling, as many have a Cold War nostalgia for the Soviet Union and rely on Russia for military equipment. It remains to be seen how the U.N. resolution will affect the conflict in Ukraine.