On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the Russian invasion into the Ukraine. The historical resolution demanded that Russia withdraw from its neighboring country immediately, but it is not a legally binding resolution. However, the resolution is a symbol of global unity in support of Ukrainian people and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
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.”
Only five of the nations present voted against the measure: Russian, Belarus, North Korea, Syria, and Eritrea. China, Cuba, and Iran abstained from voting altogether.
The result of the vote was a standing ovation and applause from representatives present. The American Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, spoke to the General Assembly prior to the vote.
Other ambassadors, including the Ukrainian ambassador, pleaded for a vote to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sergiy Kyslytsya, provided an “emotional address” to the assembly: “It’s already clear that the goal of Russia is not an occupation only. It is genocide.”
The resolution passed by a vote of 141 to five; there were 35 abstentions. The Russian ambassador to the United Nations spoke as well; he claims that the United States as well as other Western allies are “exerting pressure” on other countries within the UN to vote for the resolution.
While the United States officials have appeared on news media multiple times giving verbal support for the Ukrainians, Ukrainian citizens as well as officials are saying that the people there need more than moral support. Victoria Spartz, a Ukrainian born American who is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke on Tuesday afternoon; her emotional speech railed at measures the West has taken so far in regards to the Ukrainian crisis. Spartz said, “I expect actions, not talk.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has echoed this sentiment; he has repeatedly asked for arms, ammunition, and other aid from the United States and members of the European Union.
Zelenskyy said late last week when President Joe Biden offered to assist in evacuating him, “I need ammo; I don’t need a ride.” Zelenskyy has drawn respect and admiration from the world as he has chosen to stay in his country and fight alongside his people rather than leave for personal safety.
Since Putin invaded Ukraine a week ago, diplomatic efforts from a multitude of countries have failed to deter the Russian leader. Many officials say that at least 800,000 Ukrainians have been displaced, creating a humanitarian crisis. In addition, various international agencies estimate that there will be at least $1 billion in humanitarian aid will be necessary to assist the embattled Ukraine. As of Wednesday morning, reports held that Russia is carrying out airstrikes in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv. A regional police headquarters was one of the targets of the airstrikes; three people were injured during the incident.
The German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, lashed out at Russia’s Foreign Minister: “Mr. Lavrov, you can deceive yourself, but you won’t deceive us. And you won’t deceive our people and you won’t deceive your own people.”
However, Russian diplomats have described the Ukrainian invasion as a “special military operation,” and say that Russia only intended “to defend two separatist regions” in Western Ukraine.
Reports hold that not only do the Russian people generally not support this invasion into Ukraine (Russian citizens have protested in St. Petersburg and 52 other cities in Russia), but the Russian troops themselves are experiencing “low morale.” The New York Times is reporting that some troops are surrendering rather than fighting, and unconfirmed reports hold that troops in the forty-mile convoy headed toward Kyiv is only inching along due to a lack of dedication to invading Ukraine. Companies from around the world are disavowing relationships with Russia, from FIFA to Apple to Directv and Disney.
Although the world is sanctioning and financially isolating Russia, President Vladimir Putin is showing no intent of withdrawal.