UN General Assembly
United Nations close ranks against Ukraine war
The war against Ukraine is of increasing concern to the world. Criticism of Russia is growing - and the international community is showing unusual unity at the UN General Assembly.
It was a rare show of unity among the often torn United Nations: This week at the UN general debate in New York, more and more countries clearly expressed their criticism of the Ukraine war, even friends of Moscow joined in.
Western allies have repeatedly stated that since Russia invaded the Ukraine largely isolated in February. However, much of this was wishful thinking. But now there are signs of more unity.
Even India and China now have doubts Moscow
Even before the speeches at the UN General Assembly this week, India and China, which had been very reticent up to now, expressed doubts about Moscow's actions at a summit in Uzbekistan last weekend. Then, in a strong signal, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly overruled Russian objections and voted to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak at a distance, rather than after everyone else new York to travel.
The shift away from Moscow intensified further when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced partial mobilization with around 300,000 additional troops on Wednesday - a move that does not portend an imminent end to the war. Putin also raised the threat of nuclear weapons again. This was also preceded by the announcement of sham referendums on membership Russia in several occupied territories in Ukraine.
Numerous countries condemn war against Ukraine
In the general debate at the UN General Assembly, numerous heads of state and government used their speeches on Tuesday and Wednesday to condemn the Russian war against Ukraine. It continued on Thursday, both in the assembly hall and in the otherwise often divided UN Security Council. Virtually all of the other 14 members of the panel, one by one, accused Russia of aggravating global crises and endangering the very foundations of the world organization.
For Ukraine and its Western allies, hopes are now being raised that this will put pressure on Putin to negotiate a peace solution. But they are not overly optimistic. Many of Russia's partners depend on Moscow for energy, food and military support.
China and India: Threats to the UN's concept of sovereignty
Still, the world took notice when countries like India and China, which are posing as friends of Russia, continued to emphasize their concerns about the conflict and its impact on world supplies, following the comments in New York a week ago. They also expressed concern about threats to the concepts of sovereignty and territorial integrity enshrined in the UN Charter.
Brazil expressed similar concerns. Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto Franca stressed the importance of immediate efforts to end the war. "The continuation of hostilities threatens the lives of innocent civilians and threatens the food and energy security of millions of families in other regions, particularly in developing countries," he said. The risks of an escalation are too great and the consequences for the world order are unpredictable.
Belarus as a close ally of Moscow
Only Belarus backed Moscow. Russia's close ally nonetheless called for a quick end to the bloodshed, which it described as a "tragedy".
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the recent coming together. "We hear a lot about the divisions among the countries of the United Nations," he said. "But recently the remarkable unity among the member states when it comes to the Russian war against Ukraine is striking."
Government representatives from both developing and developed countries, from large and small nations, from the North and the South had addressed the consequences of the war and the need to end it in the General Assembly. "Even a number of countries that have close ties with Moscow have publicly stated that they have serious questions and concerns about President Putin's continued invasion," Blinken said.
Russia wants to convey a different picture
Russia, on the other hand, hastened to demonstrate that it was by no means facing isolation. On social media, the State Department posted posts about what appeared to be a cordial series of meetings between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and colleagues during his trip to New York.
In the UN Security Council, however, where Lavrov unsurprisingly defended Russia's actions and repeated accusations against the West, Russia's appearance was short-lived. Lavrov withdrew immediately after his speech. "I've noticed that Russian diplomats are fleeing almost as quickly as Russian soldiers," commented Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.