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UN holds vote on demand for end of Russia-Ukraine conflict

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Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2022. 1:44 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was scheduled to vote earlier today on a non-binding resolution condemning violence by Russia against Ukraine and demanding an immediate withdrawal, according to U.S. National Public Radio.

94 countries have co-sponsored the resolution, presaging a lopsided vote, adding pressure to the efforts to freeze Russia out diplomatically while problems mount including a surge in the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine, an initial estimate that the humanitarian effort within the country will cost more than $1 billion, and an emergency, often heated, debate at the General Assembly.

The resolution “demands that the Russian Federation immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.” It also expresses “grave concern at reports of attacks on civilian facilities such as residences, schools, and hospitals, and of civilian casualties, including women, older persons, persons with disabilities, and children.”

Last week, Russia vetoed a similar resolution at the 15-member Security Council. It was mostly isolated: No other nation opposed it, and China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstained. Eleven nations, including the United States, supported it.

None of the diplomatic activities appeared to slow Russia’s attacks Wednesday morning, as news reports said Russian airstrikes had hit a regional police headquarters in Kharkiv, injuring three people.

As German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called out Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov for trying to “deceive” the world, Russia’s representative at the United Nations hew to their line that the advance into Ukraine was a “special military operation” intended to defend two separatist regions. “Russia is seeking to end this war,” Nebenzia said earlier this week.

The United Arab Emirates assumed the rotating chair of the Security Council on Tuesday, and Lana Nussiebeh, the UAE’s permanent representative to the U.N., became president of the Security Council on Monday. She said Monday that the UAE’s abstention from the Security Council’s resolution would not affect how it chairs the panel. “We must leave space for a diplomatic offramp,” she said. “Those countries that did abstain have those channels with President Putin and will use them to help.”

Separately, the United Nations said on Tuesday it estimates the initial humanitarian and refugee needs will cost $1.7 billion. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said humanitarian agencies need $1.1 billion dollars to fund emergency relief within Ukraine for the next three months. He also requested another $551 million to help pay for services for Ukrainians fleeing the country, especially in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova.

 

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