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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

India Votes Against Russia in UN Security Council Vote on Ukraine

It is the first time India has voted against Russia on the Ukraine issue since Russian military action began in February this year

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INDIA/RUSSIA: India on Wednesday voted against Russia for the first time during a “procedural vote” at the UN Security Council on Ukraine, when the 15-member powerful UN body invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to address the meeting via video teleconference.

It is the first time India has voted against Russia on the Ukraine issue since Russian military action began in February. So far, New Delhi has abstained from voting in the UN Security Council on Ukraine, much to the chagrin of Western powers led by the United States.

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Western nations, including the US, imposed extensive economic and other sanctions on Russia following the aggression.

India has not criticized Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. New Delhi has repeatedly called on the Russian and Ukrainian sides to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue, and also expressed support for all diplomatic efforts to end the conflict between the two countries.

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India is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term that ends in December.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council meeting on the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence reviewed the six-month-long conflict.

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As the meeting began, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vasiliy A Nebenzia asked for a procedural vote on the Ukrainian president’s participation in the meeting via video teleconference.

After his and Ferit Hodži’s statement from Albania, the Council invited Zelensky to participate in the meeting via video teleconference with a ratio of 13 votes for, and 1 against. Russia voted against such an invitation, while China abstained.

Nebenzia insisted that Russia is not against Zelensky’s participation, but such participation must be personal. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council decided to work virtually, but such meetings were informal and after the pandemic peaked, the Council reverted to interim rules of procedure, he argued.

Reiterating that his country’s objection was specifically to the president’s participation via video teleconference, he called for a procedural vote on the matter, which India and 12 other countries disagreed with and supported Zelensky to address the Council via video conference.

Albanian Hoxha claimed that Ukraine is at war and the situation in that country requires the president to be there. Given this unique situation, he encouraged Zelensky to participate via video teleconference and urged other members to do the same.

Nebenzia regretted that the members of the Council spoke out against the observance of the body’s rules. “We can understand the logic of Kyiv’s Western backers,” he said, expressing disappointment that other members had contributed to undermining the very foundation and practices of the Council.

Soon after, in his remarks via video conference, Zelensky called the Russian Federation to account for its crimes of aggression against Ukraine. “If Moscow doesn’t stop now, then all these Russian killers will inevitably end up in other countries,” he said.

“The future of the world will be decided on the territory of Ukraine,” he added. “Our independence is your security,” he told the UNSC.

Zelenskyy claimed that Russia had brought the world to the brink of a nuclear disaster by turning the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant into a war zone. The plant has six reactors – only one exploded at Chornobyl – and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must take permanent control of the situation as soon as possible, he said.

Ukraine’s president called on Russia to stop its “nuclear blackmail” and withdraw completely from the plant. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed serious concern about the situation in and around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, stressing that “warning lights are flashing”.

Any action that could threaten the physical integrity, safety or security of the plant is unacceptable and any further escalation of the situation could lead to self-destruction, he said, calling for the safety of the plant to be restored as purely civilian infrastructure and for the IAEA to carry out as soon as a possible mission to this place.

“His disinformation campaigns are increasingly being used as weapons to prepare for further attempts to annex Ukrainian territory,” Guterres said.

However, the international community will never recognize Russia’s attempt to change Ukraine’s borders by force, she told the UN Security Council.

Noting that Ukraine has an impeccable level of safety and security of nuclear energy at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, she said that the Russian Federation recklessly attacked the site and took control of it by force, thereby risking a nuclear disaster.

The US envoy expressed concern over Moscow’s “so-called filtering operation”, which involves systematic and forced deportations of Ukrainian civilians to remote areas of the Russian Federation.

The ambassadors of France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Gabon, Ghana, Mexico and China, as well as the European Union as observers, also spoke on the occasion.

Also Read: Russia Planning Strikes Targeting Ukrainian Civilian Infrastructure: US Intelligence

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