ABU DHABI, TGO: Qatar has voted on a UN resolution demanding Russia’s “immediate and complete” withdrawal from Ukraine as the invasion of the country continues.
The resolution garnered the vote of a total of 141 countries out of 193 members at the UN General Assembly. Countries that voted have collectively “deplored in the strongest terms” Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine. A total of 35 countries abstained from voting as five voted against.
The countries that voted against the resolution include: Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus and Russia. The move shows the current Russian alliance amid its flagrant violation of international law.
Qatar, along with members that voted in favour of the resolution, were praised by the US State Department.
“We applaud Israel, Kuwait, and Qatar for standing with Ukraine and co-sponsoring the UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against Ukraine,” tweeted the US State Department.
Whilst Israel has voted in favour of the resoltuion, it continues its illegal occupation of Palestine.
The vote has solidified the stance of each country. Members that voted on the resolution have also acknowledged that Russia’s actions violate UN Charters. The countries expressed their dissatisfaction with Russia’s decision on 21 February on the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
The regions, also known as the Donbas, have been under control of Russian separatists for almost eight years. By recognising the region as independent states, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin paved the way for the invasion, which started within days.
“[UN members deplore Russia’s] decision related to the status of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” read the resolution.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told the press that the majority vote stands as a “loud and clear” message to Russia to end its hostilities in Ukraine. Guterres also warned that “the ticking clock is a time bomb”, stressing the need for immediate action in Ukraine.
“Looking ahead, I will continue to do everything in my power to contribute to an immediate cessation of hostilities and urgent negotiations for peace,” Guterres told the press.
On Wednesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky held a phone call with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. During the call, Zelensky discussed with Sheikh Tamim their countries’ bilateral ties and developments in Ukraine.
“Discussed with [Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani] Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and some bilateral issues over the phone. I am grateful for the unconditional support to Ukraine in such a difficult time,” tweeted Zelensky.
The latest conversation was the second to take place in almost a week between the two leaders. It follows a phone call between the Gulf State’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke to his Russian and Ukranian counterparts last week.
Qatar has called for the protection of Ukraine’s territorial integrity as Russia carried out military advances in the country.
During the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Sheikh Mohammed called for the need “to engage in constructive dialogue within diplomatic means to resolve this crisis”.
“Guaranteeing the safety of civilians should be at the utmost priority in these circumstances. What is most concerning, above all, is the difficult humanitarian situation millions of refugees will face should this conflict continue,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
Qatar’s stance echoes its stance in conflict resolution through diplomacy. The country has long been a key mediator between warring factions in different conflicts around the world.
Russia’s attacks on Ukraine have increased since last week, especially in urban areas, including the central square in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.
The UN said on Wednesday that 227 civilians in Ukraine have been killed and 525 have been injured since the start of the invasion. The agency believes that the total civilian casualties is believed to be “considerably higher”.
Russia and Ukraine are set to hold a second round of peace talks on Thursday, as the previous round on Monday provided no conclusion.