Russia seeks secret UN vote on condemning Ukraine annexation

Oct 5, 2022, 10:43 PM | Updated: Oct 6, 2022, 11:03 am
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya raises his hand against a U.N. Security Co...

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya raises his hand against a U.N. Security Council vote on a draft resolution sanctioning Russia's planned annexation of war-occupied Ukraine territory, Friday Sept. 30, 2022 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia called for a secret ballot vote next week on a Western-backed resolution that would condemn its “attempted illegal annexation” of part of four Ukrainian regions and demand that Moscow immediately reverse its actions. Russia apparently hopes it would get more support from the 193 nations in the General Assembly if their votes are not public.

Russia vetoed what would have been a legally binding Security Council resolution on Sept. 30 to condemn annexation referendums in the four Ukrainian regions as illegal, declare them invalid and urge all countries not to recognize any annexation of the territory claimed by Moscow.

The United States and Albania, which sponsored the resolution, vowed to take the issue to all U.N. members in the General Assembly, where there are no vetoes but resolutions are not legally binding.

“Unless the international community reacts,” European Union U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog said Wednesday, “there can be claims that no one pays attention and this is now a carte blanche for other countries to do likewise or to give recognition to what Russia’s done.”

The General Assembly has announced that its emergency special session on Ukraine will resume on Monday afternoon, when the draft resolution will be presented. Diplomats said they expect speeches from member nations to continue Tuesday, with a vote on the resolution likely on Wednesday.

Votes on resolutions in the world body are traditionally public and are illuminated with different colored lights on a large board which has the name of every country.

But Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said in a six-page letter to all other U.N. ambassadors obtained by The Associated Press that the U.N. legal counsel has confirmed that a secret ballot can be used by the General Assembly “in decision-making.”

In addition to demanding that Russia reverse its annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, the draft resolution would declare that Moscow’s actions violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and are “inconsistent” with the principles of the U.N. Charter.

The proposed resolution says the annexations also “have no validity under international law and do not form the basis for any alternation of the status of these regions of Ukraine.”

It demands that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders … to enable peaceful resolution of the conflict … through political dialogue, negotiations, mediation and other peaceful means.”

Russia’s call for a secret ballot vote on the resolution is the latest step in the escalating confrontation between Moscow and the United States and its European allies over its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s veto in the Security Council last Friday came hours after a lavish Kremlin ceremony where President Vladimir Putin signed treaties to annex the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions, saying they were now part of Russia and would be defended by Moscow.

Putin signed the final papers Wednesday to annex the four regions and in a defiant move, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov held the door open for further land grabs in Ukraine, saying “certain territories will be reclaimed, and we will keep consulting residents who would be eager to embrace Russia.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded to the annexation by announcing Ukraine’s fast-track application to join NATO. In a decree released Tuesday, he also ruled out negotiations with Russia, declaring that Putin’s actions made talking to the Russian leader impossible.

In his letter to U.N. member nations, Russia’s Nebenzia called the attempt by the U.S. and its allies to have the General Assembly condemn the referendums “a clearly politicized and provocative development aimed at deepening the divide” among U.N. member nations.

He claimed the Western actions have nothing to do with protecting international law and the U.N. Charter, and are only to “pursue their own geopolitical objectives,” alleging Western “double-standards” in backing Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 without a referendum.

Unlike Kosovo, Nebenzia said, the four Ukrainian regions “are exposed to a real existential threat from Ukraine now.”

The Russian ambassador said Moscow understands the “huge pressure” the United States and it’s allies will exert on other countries to support the resolution, and “we also understand that in such circumstances it may be very difficult if positions are expressed publicly.” Therefore, he said, Russia is proposing a secret ballot vote and calls on member states to support the initiative.

Asked for reaction to the Russian move, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield replied: “No comment.”

While the Security Council has been stymied on taking action on Ukraine because of Russia’s veto power, the General Assembly has approved three resolutions.

It voted 141-5 with 35 abstentions on March 2 to demand an immediate Russian cease-fire, withdrawal of all its forces and protection for all civilians. On March 24, it voted 140-5 with 38 abstentions on a resolution blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urging an immediate cease-fire and protection for millions of civilians and the homes, schools and hospitals critical to their survival.

But the assembly voted by a far smaller margin on April 7 to suspend Russia from the world organization’s leading human rights body, the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, over allegations that Russian soldiers in Ukraine engaged in rights violations that the United States and Ukraine have called war crimes. The vote was 93-24 with 58 abstentions.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Flash flood kills nine at church gathering in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — At least nine people have died while eight others are still missing in South Africa after they were swept away by a flash flood along the Jukskei river in Johannesburg, rescue officials said Sunday. Two bodies were recovered on Saturday and a further seven bodies were found when the rescue mission was […]
1 day ago
Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock campaigns on Sept. 2, 2022, in Atlanta with other members of historica...
Associated Press

In Georgia, how sports explain a political battleground

SMYRNA, Ga. (AP) — The reception area of a metro Atlanta office suite is a veritable museum of Herschel Walker’s football success for the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the NFL. The office is part of the Atlanta Braves’ real estate development in the Major League Baseball franchise’s new suburban home. This headquarters for Georgia’s […]
1 day ago
Sterling Sheffield, an assistant professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the Univers...
Associated Press

FDA change ushers in cheaper, easier-to-get hearing aids

It’s now a lot easier — and cheaper — for many hard-of-hearing Americans to get help. Hearing aids can now be sold without a prescription from a specialist. Over-the-counter, or OTC, hearing aids started hitting the market in October at prices that can be thousands of dollars lower than prescription hearing aids. About 30 million […]
1 day ago
2022 Kennedy Center Honoree George Clooney, bottom third from right, reacts as he is given a should...
Associated Press

George Clooney, Gladys Knight among Kennedy Center honorees

WASHINGTON (AP) — Performers such as Gladys Knight or the Irish band U2 usually would be headlining a concert for thousands but at Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors the tables will be turned as they and other artists will be the ones feted for their lifetime of artistic contributions. Actor, director, producer and human rights activist […]
1 day ago
CIA Officers Memorial Foundation staff members Calista Anderson, left, and Nancy Faucette, right, t...
Associated Press

Group aiding kin of slain CIA officers comes out of shadows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calista Anderson was at a sleepover when the email from a friend arrived. She was 12 years old and had just experienced the worst moment of her life: Her mother had been killed while working overseas. The email offered a further jolt. It linked to a news article revealing that, contrary to […]
1 day ago
FILE - Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington, ...
Associated Press

Supreme Court weighs ‘most important case’ on democracy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case, a Republican-led challenge asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency. The court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case from North Carolina, where […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Russia seeks secret UN vote on condemning Ukraine annexation