UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The European Union on Wednesday circulated the resolution to be voted on by the UN General Assembly on the eve of next week’s first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling for a cessation of hostilities and a peace that ensures Ukraine’s ” sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.”
There are no vetoes in the 193-member world body, so the resolution is certain to be adopted at the end of a high-level emergency special session of the assembly Feb. 23. But the big question is how many “yes” votes it will get.
To mark the anniversary, Ukraine asked the EU to draft the resolution in consultation with UN member states, with the aim of gathering strong support from the international community for peace in Ukraine in line with the UN Charter, said an EU diplomat who was not authorized to speak publicly. The charter calls for peaceful settlement of disputes and declares that all countries shall refrain “from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
The General Assembly has become the most important UN body dealing with Ukraine because the Security Council, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security, is paralyzed as a result of Russia’s veto power.
While the assembly’s five previous resolutions on Ukraine are not legally binding — as council resolutions are — they are important as a reflection of world opinion.
The first resolution adopted eight days after the Russian invasion last Feb. 24 demanded an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of all Russian troops. It was approved by a vote of 141-5 with 35 abstentions.
A second resolution three weeks later blamed Russia for Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis and called for the protection of civilians and their homes and infrastructure critical to their survival. It was adopted by a vote of 140-5 with 38 abstentions.
An Oct. 12 resolution condemned Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four Ukrainian regions and demanded its immediate reversal. It got the highest vote of the five resolutions — 143-5 with 35 abstentions.
Two other resolutions that suspended Russia from the UN’s Geneva-based Human Rights Council and called for Russia to be held accountable for violating international law by invading Ukraine, including paying reparations for damage, deaths and injuries, received fewer “yes” votes — 93 and 94, respectively.
Ukraine initially thought of having the General Assembly enshrine the 10-point peace plan that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced at the November summit of the Group of 20 major economies, UN diplomats said. But this idea was shelved in favor of the broader and less detailed resolution circulated Wednesday.
As one example, while the resolution to be voted on emphasizes the need to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes committed in Ukraine through “fair and independent investigations and prosecutions at the national or international level,” it does not include Zelenskyy’s call for a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes.
The final draft resolution differs slightly from the original draft obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
It adds a call “for a cessation of hostilities” and refers directly to “the full scale invasion of Ukraine” a year ago, reiterating the need to reach “a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in Ukraine “as soon as possible” in line with the UN Charter.
The draft calls on UN member states and international organizations “to redouble support for diplomatic efforts” to achieve peace on those terms, and supports efforts by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and unnamed countries.
The proposed resolution reiterates the General Assembly’s previous demand that Russia “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces” from Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.
It also deplores “the dire human rights and humanitarian consequences” of Russia’s aggression, including its repeated attacks on critical infrastructure with devastating consequences for civilians” and expresses “grave concern at the high number of civilian casualties.” It calls for an immediate halt to attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, residences, schools and hospitals.