The resolve of the international community to firmly refuse to accept Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been clearly demonstrated. Russian President Vladimir Putin must recognize Russia’s deepening isolation and immediately halt the aggression.
A resolution condemning Russia and calling for the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine was adopted by a majority vote at an emergency special session of the U.N. General Assembly.
Of the 193 U.N. member states, 141 voted in favor of the resolution, including the United States, European countries and Japan. Only five countries voted against it: Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, and Syria. All of these countries are dictatorships, and their leaders’ disdain for international law was clearly evident.
The resolution declared that Russia’s aggression violated the U.N. Charter — which prohibits the use of force against a territory — and “deplores in the strongest terms” the aggression. It called for the withdrawal of Russian forces and the suspension of military operations, and also condemned Russia’s increase in the readiness of its nuclear forces.
Unlike U.N. Security Council resolutions, U.N. General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding. Nevertheless, it is significant in that it clarifies the resolve of the international community that Russia’s subversion of the international order must not be tolerated and that justice must be served.
With the Security Council failing to fulfill its function of keeping the peace due to the abuse of veto power by permanent members Russia and China, the United Nations, which shapes international public opinion through votes and speeches by each country, has barely managed to demonstrate the significance of its existence.
The Ukrainian U.N. ambassador said: “One might consider, observing the bloodshed in Ukraine, that ‘it is not my war.’
It is a mistake. The evil will never stop.” Both the desperate plea of the Ukrainian ambassador and the sophistry of the Russian U.N. ambassador justifying the aggression have likely been strongly etched in the minds of people around the world.
Russia should decide to immediately suspend all military action, including its attacks on civilian facilities.
China abstained from voting on the resolution. Its U.N. ambassador said that pressure would further complicate the situation and that nothing would be gained by stirring up a new Cold War. It was as if the ambassador was talking about other people’s affairs in an indifferent manner.
The current tragic situation is due to Russia’s unilateral aggression.
China’s call for both Russia and Ukraine to exercise restraint is an attempt to deflect attention from this fact, and is tantamount to effectively assisting the aggression. China is irresponsible and unworthy of a permanent seat on the Security Council.
China has united a group of developing countries at the United Nations and has emphasized its position of protecting the sovereignty and interests of small and medium-sized countries. It had good relations with Ukraine, but is now on the side of trampling on its sovereignty with Russia. Developing countries must recognize China’s true nature.
— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on March 4, 2022.