March 26, 2023


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Diplomatic eye for eye on Ukraine escalates at UN

Diplomatic eye for eye on Ukraine escalates at UN

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia is seeking to undermine Western-led efforts at the United Nations to further isolate Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, as the Security Council and General Assembly prepare to vote this week on competing measures over the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. .

Diplomatic eye treatment in the world body has intensified since Russia launched what it called a “special military operation” on February 24 to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday slammed Russia’s “ridiculous war”, warning that “the continuation of the war in Ukraine is morally unacceptable, politically indefensible and militarily illogical.” Read more

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The 193-member UN General Assembly faces competing draft resolutions – demanding aid access and protection for Ukraine’s civilians, medical and aid workers. But only one text, written by Ukraine and its allies and due to be voted on this week, criticizes Russia’s role in creating the crisis.

The second draft from South Africa made no mention of Russia and it was not immediately clear when it might be subject to a vote. In remarks accompanying her proposal, seen by Reuters, South Africa said: “It remains essential to reach consensus on humanitarian issues. Shifting focus to other issues will lead to divisions and a failure to reach agreement on outcomes.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week he would resist calls to condemn Russia, blaming NATO for fomenting the conflict. Read more

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Barbara Woodward, told reporters on Tuesday that discussions were underway with South Africa on how to “reach a text that has broad support across the General Assembly without having to get two votes”.

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Ukraine and its allies are looking to improve on the 141 yes vote to adopt the March 2 General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine and calling for it to withdraw. Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria voted no, while 35 countries – including China – abstained. Read more

“We still hope to get the same numbers that isolated Russia last time,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, told reporters on Tuesday.


Amid the two conflicting draft resolutions, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric stressed on Tuesday that unity would be most beneficial: “This organization is at its strongest when it speaks with one voice.”

General Assembly resolutions are not binding but carry political weight. The March 2 vote demonstrated Russia’s international isolation over its invasion of Ukraine. While Russia has a veto in the 15-member Security Council, not a single country can block a General Assembly resolution.

South Africa’s move in the General Assembly is similar to the text proposed by Russia in the Security Council last week. South Africa’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ksolisa Mfundiso Mabhungo, said the draft General Assembly resolution was “a purely South African initiative. It is not inspired by Russia.”

Russia asked the Security Council to vote on its draft proposal on Wednesday, but diplomats say it will fail, and most council members will likely abstain because it does not refer to Russia’s role.

Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky on Tuesday described Moscow’s project as aiming to help humanitarian aid groups “without any politicization.”

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“It is absolutely inconceivable that Russia thinks it can make a humanitarian decision,” Thomas Greenfield said, describing it as “like a arsonist who called on neighbors to help him put out the fire he had started.”

Moscow canceled a vote in the Security Council scheduled for last Friday after it accused Western countries of waging a campaign of “unprecedented pressure” against the measure. The United States rejected Russia’s allegations. Read more

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Reported by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mary Milliken and Rosalba O’Brien

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