The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Wednesday declared Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson was illegal and called on all member countries not to recognize the move.
All four members of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) were among the 143 votes out of a total of 193 members who deepened Moscow's international isolation, after only Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Belarus supported the Kremlin's stance while another 35 countries abstained from voting, despite intense US-led lobbying efforts. China was one of them.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price had warned “there is no such thing as neutrality.”
Moscow's annexations came after ‘referendums’ that saw armed Russian soldiers go door-to-door collecting votes according to which local residents expressed their willingness to be a part of Russia.
These proceedings would give President Vladimir Putin legal grounds for his military actions, claiming he is only defending Russian territories from Kyiv's expansionism, which could even justify the use of nuclear weapons. Russia previously used a referendum as a pretext for the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Wednesday's resolution accuses Moscow of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, branding its actions “inconsistent” with the principles of the UN Charter and providing “no basis for any alternation of the status of these regions of Ukraine.”
It also demands that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that the result was a powerful demonstration of the international community’s widespread condemnation of Russia’s outrageous, illegal attempts to annex the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.
“The vote is indisputable evidence of what we have known for some time – Putin stands alone on the international stage and his actions are driving his country further into self-inflicted isolation.”
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