India on Monday, October 10, 2022, unexpectedly voted against the secret ballot demand placed by Moscow on the matter of illegal annexation of the four Ukrainian regions. Among the total 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), 13 countries stood with Russia whereas 107 states voted against the European country with 39 abstaining to vote on the motion moved by Albania.
The purpose of the motion was to condemn what was termed as the ‘illegal annexation’ of Donbas and other two regions of Ukraine by the Russian troops of which official papers were penned down by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the beginning of the month. Luhansk and Donetsk form the Donbas region. The other two annexed Ukrainian terrains include Zaphorizia and Kherson.
This vote of India comes after Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Sunday made a remark denying to say anything on India’s stance on the conflict, noting, “We don’t predict our votes in advance”.
Russia wanted a secret ballot vote to be held on the matter at the General Assembly which now has been furiously denied by a massive majority. Before this motion was proposed, Moscow previously utilized ‘veto power’ to press the matter at United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where India was among the abstained voters.
After using the veto, the United States Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas Greenfield vowed to take the matter to the General Assembly where all 193 states’ votes hold significance.
A total of 15 countries are members of the UNSC, of which 5 are permanent excluding India which is the non-permanent member state of the organization.
Russia does not hold veto power in the General Assembly of the UN like the UNSC, one of the reasons why Moscow demanded secret voting into the matter. Though Russia itself was among the abstained voters including China at the UNGA session.
Russia’s re-appeal on the matter
Following the expected outcome at the UNGA voting session, Russia sought reconsideration on the motion in the assembly but once again faced non-success as the states strictly refused to have a re-appeal on the motion. Therefore, the countries in the future will vote through an open ballot for declaring Moscow’s move of annexing 4 Ukraine regions as invalid. The member states believe this illicit action of Russia doesn’t compile with the United Nations Charter.
Russian Permanent Representative accuses UNGA President
Soon after the denial of Moscow’s secret ballot demand, its’ Permanent Representative to UNGA, Vassily Nebenzia called the voting ‘outrageous fraud’ accusing UNGA President Csaba Kőrösi of playing a prime role in this.
His statement cites, “This is clearly politicized & development aimed at deepening the divide in the General Assembly and bring its’ membership further apart. We weren’t given the floor to make point of order, our statement was distorted, and now the United Nations member states are being robbed of their right to express their opinion freely”.
The anger and disappointment of Nebenzia were clearly seen in the statements he issued. In his view, secret ballot voting is ‘imperative’ as in the case of the open vote where the names of the states voting in favor or against Russia will be revealed publicly which could cause difficulties.
Motive of resolution
The motion firmly calls all the UN member states, international organizations as well other specialized agencies of the United Nations to condemn the annexation of Ukrainian regions by Russia, asking to not recognize the four regions as part of Moscow, hence considering the alteration by the Russian President Putin as ‘invalid’.
India’s stance on the matter
India is against war but still so far audibly did not use the ‘condemn’ word since the war begin with Russia-Ukraine on February 24. Though, the Indian diplomats repeatedly called on the countries to establish peace as soon as possible while maintaining its position as non-aligned in the matter.
UNGA President’s remarks
Speaking and criticizing the war, UNGA President Csaba Korosi, in his recent statement during a special session of the assembly stated, “The war in Ukraine should never have been started. But it will end one day. Guns will be silent. But when? At what cost? What will Ukraine look like when peace returns? What will the world look like?”.
Russia-Ukraine war update
Moscow’s Defence Ministry today, October 11, 2022, officially accepted targeting the Ukrainian military as well as energy facilities in the attacks. Commenting via a post on Telegram, the ministry notified action of the Russian Armed Forces who continue to attack Ukraine with high-precision long-range air-and sea-based armament at the Ukrainian facilities of military control and energy system.
Explosion sounds were once again heard in the capital of the war-torn country, Kyiv, which was witnessing peace for the past few weeks.