On Oct. 12, Russia suffered a major defeat in the United Nations.
Following the Russian Federation’s (RF) decision to veto the condemnation of the annexation of Ukrainian lands in the UN Security Council, a UN General Assembly vote was summoned on the matter.
Having failed to adopt a resolution to make the assembly’s vote secret, the RF ended up facing the unpleasantness of how internationally ostracized it really is.
During a vote on the “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine: Defending the Principles of the UN Charter” resolution, 143 UN member states voted in favor of condemning the annexation.
Expectedly, countries like China and India abstained (a total of 35 states did so), but many states from the global south, including BRICS member Brazil, supported the resolution.
As a result, Moscow had to face the unpleasant reality of ending up in a group of five most rogue countries worldwide: Belarus, North Korea, Syria, and Nicaragua.
“The world had its say – [Russia’s] attempts at annexation is [sic] worthless and will never be recognized by free nations,” President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted following the vote, adding that Ukraine would “return all its lands”.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius, who recently noted that the Kremlin must lose the war “badly,” tweeted that “Putin insists that it’s impossible to isolate #Russia. Today’s #UNGA vote is another ‘prove’ and blows straight to his heart. Even remaining silent appeasers are turning away. The next step should be expelling Russia from #UNSC.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs chose not to publish the results of the vote, instead tweeting the words of Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya who claimed that “the draft resolution under consideration today is riddled with ugly double standards that the West ventures to impose. And now the sponsors of the draft want the General Assembly to subscribe to those #DoubleStandards.”
Another no less major blow to Russia was rendered by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Oct 13.
During its vote, 99 of the present deputies voted for a resolution that designates Russia as a terrorist regime, calling on the countries to provide Ukraine with air defense systems and stating that Russia’s seat in the UN’s security council is illegal.
“This is a historic result! Full support of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This is a powerful signal on a global scale, and it is another step to recognize Russia as a sponsor of terrorism,” unaligned Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Honcharenko, who recently gave an interview with the Kyiv Post, emphasized.
A blow from the so-called friends
The results of the UN vote go far beyond the symbolic proof that Russia’s actions are a blatant violation of international law.
As the war rages on, Russia continues to partially portray it as a clash between the developing economies with their “own path” and the “decadent” western powers that are trying to impose “detrimental values” onto others.
This message from Russia undoubtedly finds some support worldwide, especially in China which also promotes “its own way.”
However, despite all the efforts by Russian propaganda, diplomatic ties, or attempts to buy support, the RF is failing to secure sufficient ground in many countries, including the African continent where Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov toured several months ago.
Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, and Uganda, visited by Lavrov, chose to abstain, not to support Russia.
Ukrainian diplomacy has likewise stepped up its efforts to appeal to these states, many of which bear a natural grudge against their former colonial rulers, and it seems that this effort has borne fruit.
On the eve of the vote, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, who had to interrupt his African tour due to large-scale bombings of Ukrainian cities by Russia, called on the Africans not to remain neutral and to support Ukraine.
This message seemed to have worked alongside the efforts of Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya who said in an interview with the Kyiv Post that Ukraine is working with the African states, reminding them who really supported the states in the past.
The fact that all four nations featured on Kuleba’s African visit – Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Senegal – voted at the UN to condemn Russia only serves to underscore that Ukrainian diplomatic efforts are indeed paying off.
With PACE making an even more blunt move to dub Russia a terrorist state, it seems like Moscow is being nudged into the realization that it has lost its leverage not just in Europe, where it continues to resort to gas blackmail with mixed results, but also beyond.
If so, this offers some hope that we are soon to witness a much-anticipated move of removing Russia from the UN Security Council – a step that could result in many scenarios, none of which, however, bode well for the Russian Federation and its gradually closing society.