WASHINGTON: India on Wednesday voted against Russia for the first time during a “procedural vote” at the UN Security Council on Ukraine, as the 15-member powerful UN body asked Ukrainians to address a meeting via video tele-conference. Invited President Volodymyr Zelensky. ,
This is the first time India has voted against Russia on the Ukraine issue since Russian military action began in February. So far, New Delhi has not participated in the UN Security Council on Ukraine, much to the displeasure of Western powers led by the United States.
Western countries, including the US, have imposed major economic and other sanctions on Russia after this attack.
India has not criticized Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. New Delhi has repeatedly called on the Russian and Ukrainian sides to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue, and has also expressed its support for all diplomatic efforts to end the conflict between the two countries.
India is currently a non-permanent member of the UNSC for a two-year term, which ends in December.
On Wednesday, the UNSC held a meeting to take stock of the six-month-old conflict marking the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.
As the meeting began, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily A. Nebenzia requested a procedural vote regarding the Ukrainian President’s participation in the meeting by video tele-conference.
Following statements from him and Ferrit Hoxha of Albania, the Council invited Zelensky by a vote of 13 in favor of one to attend the meeting via video tele-conference. Russia voted against such an invitation, while China refrained.
Nebenzia insisted that Russia does not oppose Zelensky’s involvement, but that such participation must take place personally. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council decided to work virtually, but such meetings were informal and after the peak of the pandemic, the Council returned to provisional rules of procedure, they argued.
Reiterating that his country’s objection specifically pertains to the President’s participation by video tele-conference, he called for a procedural vote on the matter, on which India and 12 other countries did not agree, and through video conference Supported Zelensky to address the council.
Albania’s Hoxha argued that Ukraine was at war, and that the status of that country required the president to be there. Because of this unique position, he supported Zelensky’s participation via video tele-conference and urged other members to do the same.
Nebenzia expressed regret that the council members had spoken out against following the rules of the organ. “We can understand the logic of Kyiv’s Western supporters …,” he expressed his dismay that other members contributed to the erosion of the council’s foundations and practices.
Soon after, Zelensky in his remarks via a video conference held the Russian Federation accountable for crimes of aggression against Ukraine. “If Moscow is not stopped now, all these Russian killers will inevitably end up in other countries,” he said.
“It is on the territory of Ukraine that the future of the world will be decided,” he said. “Our freedom is your security,” he told the UNSC.
Zelensky alleged that Russia had put the world on the brink of nuclear catastrophe by turning the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant into a war zone. The plant has six reactors – only one exploded at Chernobyl – and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should take permanent control of the situation as soon as possible, he said.
Ukraine’s president called on Russia to stop its “nuclear blackmail” and withdraw from the plant altogether.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed serious concern over the situation in and around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, underlining “the warning lights are shining”.
Any action that endangers the physical integrity, safety or security of the plant is unacceptable, and further escalation of the situation could result in self-destruction, he said and called for the facility to ensure the safety of the plant. To be re-established as a fully civilian infrastructure and for the IAEA to conduct a mission at the site as soon as possible.
Guterres also expressed concern over alleged violations of international humanitarian law.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield alleged that “Russia’s goal is as clear as ever: to destroy Ukraine as a geopolitical entity and wipe it off the world map.
“Its propaganda campaigns are increasingly being weaponized to prepare for further attempts to annex Ukrainian territory,” it said.
However, the international community will never recognize Russia’s attempt to forcefully change Ukraine’s borders, it told the UN Security Council.
Noting that Ukraine had an impeccable record of nuclear energy safety and security at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, it stated that the Russian Federation, risking a nuclear disaster, attacked the site by force and seized control of it. .
The US envoy expressed concern about Moscow’s “so-called filtration operation”, which involves the systematic and forced deportation of Ukrainian citizens to remote regions of the Russian Federation.
Envoys from France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Gabon, Ghana, Mexico and China, as well as observers from the European Union, spoke on the occasion.
Ukraine celebrated its Independence Day on Wednesday, which also marked exactly six months after the start of Russia’s military offensive against the country on February 24.