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Russia vetoes UN bid against Ukraine annexations, China abstains

United Nations: Russia on Friday vetoed a Western bid at the UN Security Council to condemn its annexations of Ukrainian territory, with China and India abstaining.

Russia’s veto was a certainty but Western powers will be heartened that Moscow did not find support from Beijing and will now seek to pressure Russia through a vote of the General Assembly, which includes all countries.

The United States pushed through a resolution co-sponsored with Ukraine hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would take over areas of Ukraine seized in the invasion following Kremlin-organized referendums.

“This is exactly what the Security Council was made to do. Defend sovereignty, protect territorial integrity, promote peace and security,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said at the start of the meeting.

“The United Nations was built on an idea that never again would one country be allowed to take another’s territory by force,” she said.

Russia’s ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, complained that it was unprecedented to seek condemnation of a permanent member of the Security Council.

“Do you seriously expect Russia to consider and support such a draft? And if not, then it turns out that you are intentionally pushing us to use the right of the veto in order to then wax lyrical about the fact that Russia abuses this right,” Nebenzia said.

The resolution would have condemned the “illegal” referendums held in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine and call on all states not to recognize any changes to Ukraine’s borders.

It also would have called on Russia to withdraw troops immediately from Ukraine, ending an invasion launched on February 24.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier Friday said that the United States would seek a vote at the General Assembly.

“If Russia blocks the Security Council from carrying out its responsibilities, we’ll ask the UN General Assembly, where every country has a vote, to make clear that it’s unacceptable to redraw borders by force,” Blinken told reporters in Washington.

“Every country has a stake in condemning these steps,” he said.

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