Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Ukraine’s annexation of territory

The draft resolution, circulated by the United States and Ukraine, was approved by ten of the council’s fifteen members, with Russia voting against. Four members abstained, namely Brazil, China, Gabon and India.

The draft resolution describes the so-called referendum organized by Russia in the four Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, which Moscow now regards as sovereign territories – as illegal and an attempt to change Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.

The text calls on all countries, organizations and international bodies not to recognize Russia’s annexation declaration and urges Russia to “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces” from Ukrainian territory.

Due to Russia’s veto, the United Nations General Assembly must now convene within ten days to allow its 193 members to review and comment on decisions of the Russian Federation, because since the adoption of n new procedures in April, any recourse to a veto by one of five permanent members of the Council automatically trigger a debate in the Assembly.

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the annexation plan as a violation of international law, calling it a “dangerous escalation” in the war that started 7 months earlier during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

“The charter is clear,” said the UN Secretary General. “Any annexation of the territory of a State by another State as a result of the threat or use of force is a violation of the Principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.

The United States wants to defend the sacred principles of sovereignty

Speaking ahead of the vote, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the referendum “a sham”, with the result predetermined in Moscow, and “performed at gunpoint by Russia”.

“We all have a hand in upholding the sacred principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, establishing peace in our modern world,” he told the other ambassadors.

“We all understand the implications of our own borders, our own economies and our own countries, if these principles are violated,” he added. “This is about our collective security, our shared responsibility to maintain international peace and security… This is the core role of this UN agency.”

There is no turning back, the Russians say

Responding on behalf of Russia, Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya accused the drafters of the resolution of “low-level provocation” aimed at forcing his country to exercise its veto power.

“Such open hostile acts on the part of the West constitute a refusal to engage and cooperate in the Council, a rejection of years of practice and experience,” he said.

The Russian representative cited the “overwhelming support” expressed by residents of the four territories claimed by Russia. “People from this region don’t want to go back to Ukraine. They made an informed and free choice to support our country,” he said.

He said that the outcome of the so-called referendum had been corroborated by international observers, and now, having been approved by the Russian Parliament and a presidential decree, “there will be no turning back, instead what will be today’s draft resolution try to impose”.

View of the Security Council room during a meeting on threats to international peace and security.

Leak in Nord Stream gas pipeline

Security Council members continued their meeting Friday afternoon in New York to consider the issue of this week’s leak of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which the NATO military alliance, like other observers, saw as an act of sabotage.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of being responsible for the damage done to this Russian-made undersea gas pipeline – a charge the United States and its allies vehemently deny.

Briefing the Ambassadors on behalf of the UN, UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Navid Hanif, said while the causes of the four leaks had to be investigated by investigation, “it is equally important to pay attention to the consequences”.

Mr Hanif said the UN was unable to confirm the details of the reported leak detected on Monday. The Nord Steam 1 and 2 pipelines have been at the center of a European energy supply crisis stemming from the Russian invasion in February, and there are no pipelines currently in operation to deliver gas to European countries at this time. .

Mr Hanif highlighted three main impacts of the leaks, first mentioning their detrimental effect on the global energy market.

“Such incidents could exacerbate the high price volatility in energy markets in Europe and globally,” he said, adding that the potential for environmental damage was another concern.

Methane hazard

Addressing the consequences for the environment, he said the leak would “generate hundreds of thousands of tonnes of emissions of methane, a gas that has 80 times the global warming power of carbon dioxide”.

Lastly, he added that the pipeline explosion also clearly shows how vulnerable critical energy infrastructure is in this time of global crisis. For this reason, Mr. Hanif stressed the need to shift to a “clean, resilient and sustainable energy system, while ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all”.

Finally, he told the Security Council that any attacks on civilian infrastructure were unacceptable and that such incidents should not further escalate tensions in the context of an escalating war.

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