UN General Assembly has agreed to vote on a draft resolution on Ukraine, tentatively on Wednesday, expecting no fewer than 100 countries to address the Assembly.
It would be recalled that the agreement was reached at an emergency special session of the General Assembly to discuss the Ukraine crisis on Monday.
Although Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they are considered to carry political weight as they express the will of the wider UN membership.
Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid, said at the session that the military offensive launched by Russia five days ago was a violation of the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
Shahid cited the UN Charter, the Organisation’s founding document, which outlined a world where countries settled disputes by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force.
“The ongoing military offensive is inconsistent with this. It is an affront to the founders of this Organisation and everything it stands for.
“The violence must stop. Humanitarian law and international humanitarian law must be respected. And diplomacy and dialogue must prevail,” he said.
Countries observed a minute of silence during the rare emergency special session, which followed a meeting by the Security Council on Sunday.
Council members voted in favour of the General Assembly convening after Russia vetoed a resolution on Friday that would have deplored the assault on Ukraine.
The General Assembly has only held 10 emergency sessions since 1950, in line with the adoption of resolution 377A(V), widely known as ‘Uniting for Peace’.
The resolution gives the Assembly power to take up matters of international peace and security when the Security Council is unable to act due to unanimity among its five permanent members – China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia – who have the power of veto.
“As we convene here in the General Assembly, negotiators from both sides are holding talks in Belarus.
“This offers a ray of hope. We pray that these talks will calm down tempers and pave way to peace,” Shahid told ambassadors.
Ukraine’s Ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, remarked that for the first time since the UN was established, a full-fledged war was unfolding in the centre of Europe.
He said now is the time to help his country.
“If Ukraine does not survive, international peace will not survive.
“If Ukraine does not survive, the United Nations will not survive, have no illusions. If Ukraine does not survive, we cannot be surprised if democracy fails next,” Kyslytsya told the General Assembly.
Speaking through an interpreter, Russian Ambassadsor, Vasily Nebenzya, said the actions of his country were being “distorted and thwarted,” with media and social networks proliferating what he called “these lies.”
The goal of the special military operation is to protect people in Luhansk and Donetsk, two regions in eastern Ukraine, “who for eight years were subject to torment and genocide by the Kyiv regime.
“To that end, there is a need to demilitarise and de-nazify Ukraine,” he said.
Nebenzya said Russia believed the UN could play a role in addressing the Ukrainian crisis by helping “to bring stakeholder positions closer together and eradicate the causes of conflict.”
The UN will launch two coordinated emergency appeals for Ukraine and the region on Tuesday.
One will address escalating humanitarian needs inside the country, including rising internal displacement, while the other will respond to the needs of people who have fled elsewhere.