The UN General Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Russia for the annexation of the territories of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, announced by Vladimir Putin two weeks ago. Brazil, which has traditionally chosen to abstain from voting on the war in Ukraine, voted in favor of condemnation.
The text was approved by a large majority. There were 143 countries in favor, 5 against and 35 abstentions.
Moscow’s ally, Beijing demonstrated in the vote that there are limits to China’s support for Putin. The Chinese opted for abstention, not completely aligning themselves with the Kremlin’s position. The gesture was followed by India and seen among European diplomats as a sign that the Russians may not have unconditional support from Chinese allies.
In the case of Brazil, the vote represents a change in relation to a position that has already become a traditional position of the Itamaraty in the war in Ukraine. The government believes the Western powers’ effort to isolate Moscow only deepens the crisis and disrupts channels of communication that would be relevant to the search for a peace deal.
But, in the opinion of Europeans and Americans, the Brazilian position ultimately helps Putin to maintain his war.
Last week, Brazil had opted to abstain from voting to create a mechanism to monitor human rights violations in Russia.
For analysts and activists such as Human Rights Watch, the result of the vote “sent an unequivocal message” that the international community rejects the annexation promoted by the Russians. For negotiators, the score still puts extra pressure on Putin. Only North Korea, Syria, Belarus and Nicaragua voted alongside the Russians.
The resolution also states that the referendums held from 23 to 27 September in parts of these regions are not valid and do not constitute the basis for any alternation of the status of these regions of Ukraine, including any alleged annexation by the Russian Federation.
Presenting the text entitled “Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity: Upholding the Principles of the Charter of the United Nations”, the Ukrainian representative said that since September 23, the Russian Federation has again violated international law and the simulated referendums in four Ukrainian areas represent a existential threat to the United Nations and its Charter.
He urged the Assembly to uphold the Charter’s principles and reconfirm that they remain a strong shield to protect all nations. “We are now at a turning point where the UN will either restore its credibility or ultimately fall into failure,” he said.
The representative of the Russian Federation, however, said that Ukraine and the West are pretending that the story only started in February, when the invasion took place.
According to Moscow, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) “only wants to escalate the conflict as part of its plan to undermine the Russian Federation”.
For the Russians, Western powers continue to supply the Kiev government with weapons, and Ukraine is now a platform to test them.