General Assembly: Eleventh Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly (Resumed) - 12th Plenary Meeting

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10-Oct-2022 03:02:30
General Assembly takes up draft resolution condemning Russian Federation’s annexation of several territories in eastern Ukraine, resuming emergency special session.

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As part of its ongoing emergency special session on Ukraine, the General Assembly met today to consider a draft resolution introduced by Ukraine that, if approved, would condemn the Russian Federation’s annexation of several territories in eastern Ukraine in late September. Many delegates today deplored the annexation as a violation of international law while criticizing the Security Council’s inability to uphold global peace and security.

[Today’s special session was mandated after the Council on 30 September failed to adopt a resolution intended to condemn the Russian Federation referenda that preceded Moscow’s proclamation of its annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. (See Press Release SC/15046 for details.) The draft Council resolution also would have declared that the referenda taken on 23 to 27 September in parts of those regions are neither valid nor form the basis for any alternation of the status of these regions of Ukraine, including any purported annexation by the Russian Federation.]

Introducing the text titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine: defending the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”, that country’s representative said that, since 23 September, the Russian Federation has again violated international law and the sham referenda in four Ukrainian areas pose an existential threat to the United Nations and its Charter. He urged the Assembly to defend the Charter principles and reconfirm they remain a strong shield to protect all nations. “We are now at a tipping point where the UN will either restore its credibility or ultimately fall in failure,” he said.

The Russian Federation’s representative, however, said Ukraine and the West are pretending that history only began in February. Those who follow discussions in the Security Council know that his delegation had been ready to consider a balanced and fair text in that forum. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) only wants to escalate the conflict as part of its plan to undermine the Russian Federation, he said, stressing that Western Powers continue to supply the regime in Kyiv with deadly weapons, and Ukraine is now a platform to test them. Kyiv and its Western backers have covered up many crimes and those who scream about the Charter being violated did not remember that document when it came to the people of Kosovo and Iraq, he emphasized. He demanded that the Assembly suspend Rule 87 of its Rules of Procedure in order to take a decision on the draft resolution introduced by secret ballot — a motion that was rejected.

Before the Russian Federation delegate took the floor, the Assembly approved a motion put forth by Albania’s delegate for the Assembly’s decision to be taken by a recorded vote. She said the Russian Federation’s efforts to hold a secret ballot is a threat to transparency, pointing out that there is no Assembly precedent to hold a secret ballot on a non-venue issue.

Speaking on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries, the representative of Latvia said there is no such thing as a legitimate referendum amid human rights abuses and systematic violations of international humanitarian law, nor is there any such thing as a legal annexation of a State’s territory by another State after threats or direct use of force. The Russian Federation’s sham referenda and illegal attempt to annex any part of Ukrainian territory must be firmly and collectively rejected, he said, calling on the Russian Federation to completely and unilaterally withdraw its troops, comply with the 16 March order by the International Criminal Court and end its aggression against Ukraine.

The representative of Fiji, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, said: “The Charter cannot simply be worn like a prestigious cloak only to be discarded when perceived geopolitical interests are at stake.” He strongly condemned the Russian Federation’s latest threats to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine “and possibly others”. As a permanent member of the Council, the Russian Federation has an even greater responsibility to uphold the United Nations Charter, he said calling for that country to cease its attempted illegal annexations of Ukrainian territory, de-escalate the current situation and withdraw to its internationally recognized borders.

Likewise, the speaker for Poland said the Charter desperately needs the international community’s defence and condemned sham referenda which cannot lead to any binding action. He urged Member States to reject the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation attempt and vote to uphold the international legal order.

Several delegates condemned the Russian Federation’s latest attacks on Kyiv and other cities. The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said the indiscriminate attacks on civilians are war crimes and perpetrators will be held accountable. In the past week, the bloc facilitated a resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s organization of illegal referenda and its subsequent attempt to illegally annex Ukraine’s territory. He urged all Member States to co-sponsor and vote in favour of the text. “If we do not condemn the actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine today, then we condone similar blatant attacks on any and all of our countries tomorrow,” he warned.

Noting that he woke up this morning to the shocking news of the Russian Federation’s attacks, the representative of Türkiye said the war must cease. This Assembly session is being held because the Council failed its primary responsibility. The Russian Federation’s attempts to annex Ukrainian territory are illegal and only serve to jeopardize prospect for peace. Türkiye has sponsored a draft resolution that will be put forward this week, he said, calling for negotiations to end the hostilities.

The speaker for Costa Rica condemned the shelling that ravaged Ukrainian communities over the weekend and said the international community must fear power with impunity and vanquish it with bravery. Noting that today’s meeting is taking place in the Assembly Hall and not the Trusteeship Council, she reminded delegates that States can no longer take the territory of others and expressed solidarity with the people from Ukraine and the Russian Federation who do not benefit from this neo-imperial transgression. States should not recognize annexations and must demand their end, she said, supporting law over force and a peaceful, negotiated solution.

Also speaking today were representatives of Singapore, Indonesia, Malta, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Dominican Republic, Albania, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Mexico.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Assembly decided by consensus that the Credentials Committee of the seventy-seventh session should serve for the resumed eleventh emergency special session. It also decided to follow the provisions of resolution 77/2 of 7 October, by which the Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia are permitted to vote in the Assembly until the end of its seventy-seventh session, and vote at the eleventh emergency special session.

The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 11 October, to consider the election of Human Rights Council members.

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