Russia vetoes UN resolution calling its referendums illegal

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Russia on Friday vetoed a UN resolution that would have condemned its referenda in four Ukrainian regions as illegal, voided it and urged all countries not to recognize an annexation of territory claimed by Moscow.
The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 10-1, with China, India, Brazil and Gabon abstaining.
The resolution would also have called for an immediate halt to Russia's "illegal invasion of Ukraine" and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all its forces from Ukraine.
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US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said before the vote that in the event of a Russian veto, the US and Albania, which sponsored the resolution, will take it before the 193-seat General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, "and show that the world is still on the side of sovereignty and protection of territorial integrity.”
That will probably happen next week.
British Ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, echoed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' statement that Russia's actions violated the UN Charter and should be condemned.
"The area that Russia claims to annex is more than 90,000 square kilometers," she said. “This is the largest forcible annexation of territory since World War II. There is no middle ground.”
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The vote in the council came hours after a lavish ceremony in the Kremlin at which President Vladimir Putin signed deals to annex Russia-held Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, saying they were now part of Russia and defended by Moscow .
Thomas-Greenfield said the results of the "sham" referendums on whether the regions wanted to join Russia were "preordained in Moscow and everyone knows it." "They were held behind the barrel of Russian guns," she said.
She added that "the sacred principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity" at the heart of the UN Charter must be defended, saying: "We all understand the implications of these principles for our own borders, our own economies and our own countries cast aside." ."
"Putin misjudged the determination of the Ukrainians," said Thomas-Greenfield. "The Ukrainian people have demonstrated loud and clear: they will never accept being subjected to Russian rule."
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Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia defended the referendums, claiming that more than 100 international observers from Italy, Germany, Venezuela and Latvia who observed the voting recognized the results as legitimate.
“The results of the referendums speak for themselves. Residents of these regions do not want to return to Ukraine. You made an informed and free choice in favor of our country,” he said.
Nebenzia added: "There will be no turning back, as today's draft resolution would try to impose."
He accused Western nations in the council of "openly hostile acts" and said they had "hit a new low" by tabling a resolution condemning a council member and forcing a Russian veto to "blow them up". could.
According to a resolution passed earlier this year, Russia must defend its veto before the General Assembly in the coming weeks.
Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said that "the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be preserved." But China abstained, he said, because it believes the Security Council should try to calm the crisis "rather than escalating conflicts and escalating confrontations."
Brazil's Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho said the referendums "cannot be perceived as legitimate" and that his country stands by the principle of the territorial integrity of sovereign states. But she abstained because the resolution does not help to de-escalate tensions and find "a solution to the conflict in Ukraine," he said.
Wladimir Putin
President of Russia

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