At UN, India rejects Russia’s call for secret ballot on Ukraine
Moscow had sought a secret ballot on a draft resolution condemning its ‘illegal annexation’ of four regions of Ukraine.
India on Monday voted to reject a demand by Russia to carry out a secret ballot at the United Nations General Assembly on a draft resolution condemning Moscow’s “illegal annexation” of four regions of Ukraine, PTI reported.
India, along with 106 other countries, opposed holding a public vote on the resolution. Thirteen countries voted in favour of Russia’s call to hold a secret ballot. Another 39 countries, including Russia and China, abstained from the vote.
Albania had introduced the motion calling for a recorded vote, instead of a secret ballot. The draft resolution criticises Russia’s “illegal so-called referendums” and “attempted illegal annexation” of the regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia.
Commenting on the results of the motion, Russia’s Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzi alleged that the United Nations member states became witness to an “outrageous fraud” in which the president of the General Assembly played a key role.
“We were not given the floor to make a point of order...our statement was distorted, and now UN member states are being robbed of their right to express their opinion freely,” he claimed, according to PTI. “This is an unprecedented manipulation undermining the authority of the general assembly and the United Nations as a whole. Of course, in such circumstances we opted to not take part in the vote.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine described Russia as a terrorist state at the meeting, AFP reported. “Russia has proven once again that this is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways,” said Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations. “Unfortunately, you can hardly call for a stable and sane peace as long as an unstable and insane dictatorship exists in your vicinity.”
On October 1, India had abstained from voting on a draft resolution tabled in the United Nations Security Council to condemn Russia’s “illegal referenda” and annexation of the four Ukrainian territories. Russia, being one of the permanent members of the body, used its power of veto to block the resolution.
On Monday, Russia carried out missile strikes on several Ukrainian cities, including the capital of Kyiv. At least 11 persons died and 64 were injured in the attacks.
Hours later, India’s Ministry of External Affairs expressed deep concern about the escalation of the conflict, including the targeting of infrastructure and deaths of civilians.
“We reiterate that escalation of hostilities is in no one’s interest,” the ministry said. “We urge immediate cessation of hostilities and the urgent return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue. India stands ready to support all such efforts aimed at de-escalation.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the international community to make it clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions were “completely unacceptable”.
“Now is the time to speak out in support for Ukraine, it is not the time for abstentions, placating words, or equivocations under claims of neutrality,” he said in a statement. “The core principles of the UN Charter are at stake.”