On Monday, Russia faced even more diplomatic isolation, with the UN General Assembly poised to vote on a draft resolution condemning Moscow’s attack on Ukraine and calling for additional relief to be sent to the millions of people caught up in the intensifying violence.
The 193-member UN assembly might vote on the four-page draft as early as Tuesday, according to a UN spokesman.
Members of the UN Security Council unanimously supported a resolution condemning Moscow’s air, land, and sea attacks on its smaller neighbor earlier this month.
Despite its stated goal of alleviating human suffering, the statement condemns Russia for mounting a “military offensive … on a scale that the international community has not seen in Europe in decades.”
It also condemns the consequences of “shelling and air strikes in densely populated cities,” as well as assaults on people and journalists, schools, water and transportation systems, clinics and cultural institutions, and the “abduction of local officials.”
The statement emphasizes the “besiegement” of Mariupol, a key front where fighting has come to a halt and local Ukrainian forces on Monday defied a Russian call to surrender.
It demands that Russia “stop its military offensive… and return to the path of dialogue and negotiations,” as well as “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces” from Ukraine.
The statement also calls on the UN to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, where up to 12 million residents have left their homes and at least 900 people have been killed, according to UN estimates.
The draft resolution criticizes the “indiscriminate use of explosive weapons” and attacks on “civilian evacuation convoys,” as well as the protection of doctors and relief workers attempting to assist people in Ukraine’s battle-scarred towns and cities.
The resolution was initially written for the UN Security Council, but it was forwarded to the broader UN assembly after it became evident that Russia would use its veto to sabotage the text in the 15-nation body.
Vassily Nebenzya, Russia’s UN envoy, called the France-Mexico resolution “political” and “anti-Russia.”
Russia drafted its own resolution for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, which includes no mention of Russia’s invasion, but it was postponed for a vote on Thursday as it became evident that it lacked the necessary votes to pass.
This month, 141 members of the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia’s incursion, completely isolating Moscow, with just four nations voting against the document: Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, and Syria.
There were 35 members that voted nay.
Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council are legally binding, although they can be vetoed by permanent council members: Russia, the United Kingdom, China, France, and the United States.
In the General Assembly, no member has a veto, and resolutions are morally binding but not legally enforceable.
Moreover, Russia has suffered worldwide condemnation and harsh penalties for its invasion of Ukraine, which started on February 24, but it has redoubled its efforts to stop the NATO military alliance from expanding to its western border.