United Nations, Oct 10 (EFE).- The United Nations General Assembly decided Monday that an upcoming vote on a resolution to condemn Russia’s attempt to annex four Ukrainian regions will be held publicly.
Although that is the normal way such voting is conducted, Russia had taken the unusual step of requesting the vote be held via secret ballot.
Moscow argued that the United States and its allies are exerting enormous pressure on other countries and that, under the normal format, those nations would not be able to express themselves freely.
By a count of 107-13 with 39 abstentions, the General Assembly voted Monday in favor of an Albanian motion to reject Russia’s bid.
The draft resolution expected to be put to a General Assembly vote on Wednesday condemns Russia’s “attempted illegal annexations” of the eastern and southeastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzia and Kherson and states that those actions “have no validity under international law.”
Late last month, Russia vetoed a similar but legally binding UN Security Council resolution that said the attempted annexations are an illegal attempt to modify Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and demanded that Moscow “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces” from Ukrainian territory.
The West says the referendums held in those four regions, which Moscow does not fully control, were a sham and that people were essentially pressured at gunpoint into voting to join the Russian Federation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in those regions have been persecuted by Ukraine and that the referendums were a means of “saving” that population.
Moscow’s attempt to wrest control of that territory from Ukraine is a particularly dangerous development in the seven-month war because Putin has said he could resort to using nuclear weapons to defend Russia’s territorial integrity.
After Russia exercised its veto power on Sept. 30 in the Security Council, Kyiv and its allies decided to hold a non-binding vote in the 193-member General Assembly, where an emergency special session is being held to discuss the attempted annexations.
In March, the General Assembly voted 141-5 with 35 abstentions in favor of a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calling for Moscow to immediately withdraw its troops from the neighboring country. EFE