One year after the gruesome invasion of Ukraine began, the UN General Assembly addressed a proposed resolution put forth by Ukraine and its supporters. In accordance with the UN Charter, the proposal urged all member states and international organisations to redouble their support for diplomatic efforts to establish a comprehensive, just, and long-lasting peace in Ukraine.
On Thursday, the 193 representatives in the United Nations General Assembly engaged in what is being called a historic vote on the proposal. India and China along with 32 other members abstained as the resolution passed with 141 votes in favour of only 7 naysayers. Moscow’s “immediate” withdrawal from Kyiv was one of the main points of the assembly.
The UNGA Resolution
The resolution passed by the UN General Assembly demanded an immediate end to the attacks on Ukraine’s key infrastructure and any purposeful attacks on civilian objects, such as homes, schools, and hospitals.
It stressed the importance of considering the global impacts of the war on food security, energy, finance, the environment, and nuclear security and safety as part of any arrangements for a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine.
All member states were urged to cooperate in the spirit of solidarity.
Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nebenzya, urged members to vote against the proposal because of its one-sided nature. He drew comparisons to World War II and said that Western friends of Ukraine were to blame for the escalation of the conflict.
On Wednesday, the General Assembly resumed its unique emergency session, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reminded the assembly that the Kremlin’s war in Kyiv is an insult to the assembly’s collective morality and conscience. He reiterated that it is now absolutely imperative to pull back from the brink of disaster.
Calling the invasion a stain on the moral compass of the world and a breach of the UN Charter and international law, Guterres said that for both the Ukrainian people and the rest of the world, the passing of a year since Russia’s invasion of their country marks a sombre anniversary.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, multiple resolutions have been passed by the United Nations in the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Human Rights Council condemning the invasion and reiterating the commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity.
India has consistently emphasised the need to uphold the UN Charter, international law, and the territorial and sovereign integrity of states while it has chosen to abstain from voting on the UN resolutions on the conflict.
India reaffirmed its stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as laid down by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar last September, stating that talks and diplomacy are the only way forward.
“India is on the side of peace and will remain there firmly” said S Jaishankar
India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj emphasised India’s position as a staunch supporter of multilateralism and the values outlined in the UN Charter.
According to Kamboj, for the resolution of any conflict, India will always advocate for open communication and diplomatic solutions and while recognising the good intentions behind the nonbinding resolution calling for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces, India abstained due to concerns about the resolution’s ability to achieve the ultimate aim of lasting peace.
China and Hungary Question UN methods
Dai Bing, China’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, argued that peace talks should be the top priority for all nations. Dai echoed China’s sentiments at the Munich Security Conference, saying that Beijing was disappointed that talks between Kyiv and Moscow had halted early on.
Dai has stated that “dialogue and negotiation” are necessary to end the conflict in Ukraine.
During the Munich summit, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi seemed to imply—without naming names—that the United States or its allies did not want talks to continue.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister of Hungary Peter Szijjarto appeared to urge western countries to prioritise peace negotiations over arming Ukraine or penalising Russia. He made a special point of praising Hungary for its efforts to help people fleeing the war there.
Budapest has reiterated that it does not believe the solution to any conflict lies in armament of countries or imposition of sanctions. All these efforts will not result in reducing casualties but will perpetuate the conflict and make peace difficult in the long run.
Although it is a member of NATO and the European Union (EU), Hungary also has amicable relations with Russia. When asked what the international community should focus on, Szijjarto replied, “finally initiating peace talks as soon as feasible.”