The United Nations on Thursday suspended Russia from its Human Rights Council and expressed “grave concern” about humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
Ninety-three countries voted in favour of the resolution to suspend Russia, while 24 countries voted against it, the Associated Press reported. Fifty-eight countries, including India, abstained from the vote.
India’s abstention on the resolution was a continuation of its stance on the matter at the United Nations, as the country has desisted from voting on several resolutions since Russia’s attack on Ukraine began.
Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, in what it called a “special operation” to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” its neighbouring country. Ukraine and Western allies have said that this a baseless pretext for a war of choice.
India was abstaining from the vote both for reasons of substance and process, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti told the United General Assembly.
“Since the inception of the Ukraine conflict, India has stood for peace, dialogue and diplomacy,” Tirumurti said. “We believe that no solution can be arrived at by shedding blood and at the cost of innocent lives.”
The envoy said that if India has chosen a side, it is that of peace, reiterating a statement that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made in Parliament on Wednesday.
Tirumurti said that recent reports of killings of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha were deeply disturbing, and said that India supported the call for an independent investigation in the attack.
“The impact of the crisis has also been felt beyond the region with increasing food and energy costs, especially for many developing countries,” the envoy said. “It is in our collective interest to work constructively, both inside the United Nations and outside, towards seeking an early resolution to the conflict.
The United States’ Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the United Nations resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council “an important and historic day”. The United Nations had initiated the resolution.
“We have collectively sent a clear message that Russia will be held accountable,” she said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed gratitude to all the countries that supported the resolution and said that they chose the right side of history. “War criminals have no place in UN bodies aimed at protecting human rights,” he said.