The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to reprimand Russia for its operation in Ukraine and demanded that Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces, an action that aims to diplomatically isolate Russia at the world body.
The resolution, supported by 141 of the assembly's 193 members, passed in a rare emergency session called by the UN Security Council while Ukrainian forces battled to defend the port of Kherson in the face of air strikes and a devastating bombardment that forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee.
Russia was joined by Belarus, which has served as a launch pad for Russian forces, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria in voting against the resolution. Thirty-five members, including China, abstained.
Elaborating on China’s abstention, Beijing’s envoy, Zhang Jun, said the resolution did not undergo “full consultations with the whole membership” of the assembly.
"Nor does it take full consideration of the history and complexity of the current crisis. It does not highlight the importance of the principle of indivisible security, or the urgency of promoting political settlement and stepping up diplomatic efforts,” he said. “These are not in line with China’s consistent positions.”
China says it will not participate in Western sanctions against Moscow.
The text of the resolution deplores Russia's "aggression against Ukraine." The last time the Security Council convened an emergency session of the General Assembly was in 1982, according to the UN website.
While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they carry political weight, with Wednesday's vote representing a symbolic victory for Ukraine and increasing Moscow's international isolation.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the assembly that Russia was poised to intensify the brutality of its offensive and urged members to hold Moscow accountable for its violations of international law.
Russia's UN envoy, Vassily Nebenzia, denied Moscow was targeting civilians and accused Western governments of pressuring assembly members to pass the resolution, whose adoption he said could fuel further violence.
"The evil will never stop. It requires more and more space," Ukraine's UN envoy, Sergiy Kyslytsa, said in urging passage of the resolution, calling it "one of the building blocks to build a wall to stop" the Russian offensive. (Reuters)