The UN Security Council Wednesday failed to adopt a Russia-drafted resolution for civilian protection and humanitarian aid access to those impacted by the war in Ukraine which failed to mention Russia’s role in creating the war. Of the 15 UN Security Council members, only Russia and China voted in favor. The other 13 members abstained.
Thursday marks one month since Russia invaded Ukraine. In one month of fighting, the UN human rights office said 1,035 civilians have been killed with another 1,650 injured, although the numbers are likely higher. About 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced.
In the midst of continued Russian aggression on March 15, Russia introduced a draft resolution which demanded civilian protection in Ukraine and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance. The draft resolution demanded full protection for civilians and the respect and protection of all of those providing humanitarian aid. Notably, the resolution failed to acknowledge Russia’s role in creating the humanitarian crisis. Russia continues to deny any role in starting the war in Ukraine.
The Russian draft resolution only received two yes votes (Russia and China) from the 15 member Security Council. The other 13 members (France, UK, US, Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, United Arab Emirates) abstained. The draft resolution needed nine yes votes and no vetoes to pass.
Following the vote, Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said the vote exposed how countries have prioritized the politicization of the humanitarian dossier over the importance of humanitarian aid. Ambassadors from the US, France and Mexico denounced the draft as an attempt to shield Russia from responsibility for their aggression in Ukraine. China’s ambassador Zhang Jun urged Security Council members to transcend political divides and focus on the humanitarian crisis.
The UN Security Council was also originally scheduled to consider a joint draft resolution from France and Mexico blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and demanding full protection for civilians and humanitarian aid providers. Because Russia has veto power in the Security Council, France and Mexico moved their draft resolution to the 193-member General Assembly.
On Thursday, the General Assembly adopted the France-Mexico joint resolution by a vote of 140 in favor, five against, and 38 abstentions. Though the resolution is not legally binding, it still reflects the international community’s condemnation of Russian aggression in Ukraine.