India on Saturday abstained from voting on a draft resolution tabled in the United Nations to condemn Russia’s “illegal referenda” and annexation of four Ukrainian territories, PTI reported.
The United States and Albania had placed the resolution for voting at the 15-member UN Security Council. Russia, being one of the permanent members of the body, used its power of veto to block the resolution.
Among the 14 other countries currently on the UN Security Council, 10 voted in favour of the resolution, while India, China, Brazil and Gabon abstained from voting.
The resolution was tabled hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Moscow has annexed the four regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk, which are inside the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine.
Putin made the announcement based on the results of referendums Russia held in the four regions, which together make up for 15% of Ukraine’s territory.
Soon after Putin’s announcement, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday said that his country will formally apply for a fast-track membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO.
While abstaining from voting against Russia’s annexation, New Delhi on Friday urged Russia and Ukraine to “immediate cessation of violence and hostilities”.
“Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes,” said Ruchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. “The path to peace requires us to keep all channels of diplomacy open.”
Russia had launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The Kremlin described its actions as a “special operation” to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” Ukraine. However, Kyiv and several Western nations have said that this is a baseless pretext for a war of choice by Putin.