The resolution on “Illegal So-Called Referenda in Ukraine” failed to get adopted as Russia, as expected, vetoed it. It was supported by 10 of the 15 members of the Council. China, Gabon and Brazil were the other countries that abstained.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russian rule over four regions that make up 15% of Ukraine’s territory – the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two.
US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield introduced the resolution that called on member states not to recognize any altered status of Ukraine and obliged Russia to withdraw its troops.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said “We urge that all efforts are made by concerned sides for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities. Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment.”
“The path to peace requires us to keep all channels of diplomacy open,” she said. Underlining that India’s position has been clear and consistent from the very beginning of this conflict, Kamboj said the global order is anchored on the principles of the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of all states.
“Escalation of rhetoric or tensions is in no one’s interest. It is important that pathways are found for a return to the negotiating table. Keeping in view the totality of the evolving situation, India has decided to abstain on this resolution,” she said.
Kamboj said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “unequivocally conveyed” the importance of dialogue and diplomacy in his discussions with world leaders, including Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. She also referred to statements made by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Ukraine during the high-level General Assembly session last week.
Referring to Modi’s remark to Putin on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand last month that “today’s era is not an era of war”, Kamboj said New Delhi sincerely hopes for an early resumption of peace talks to bring about an immediate ceasefire and resolution of the conflict.
India has previously abstained on two occasions in the Security Council and once in the General Assembly on resolutions on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Thomas-Greenfield told reporters after the meeting the abstentions “clearly were not a defense of Russia.”
“Not a single country voted with Russia. Not one,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield said if Russia chooses to shield itself from accountability, then “we will take further steps in the General Assembly” to send an unmistakable message to Moscow that the world is still on the side of defending sovereignty and protecting territorial integrity.
She argued in the council’s chamber that the attempted annexation of a sovereign nation’s territory went against the founding principles of the United Nations. She said before the vote that the outcomes of Russia’s “sham referenda were pre-determined” in Moscow.
Russia’s Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia said before the vote that the results of the referendum speak for themselves and that the residents of these regions do not want to return to Ukraine.
(With inputs from agencies)