India abstains from voting on a UNGA resolution condemning Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine

As it abstained in the UNGA on a resolution condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine and reiterating that differences can only be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, India demanded “safe and uninterrupted” passage for all its nationals, including students still stranded in Ukraine and cities in conflict zones.

Ambassador T S Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said, “India has been gravely worried over the fast deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the consequent humanitarian crisis.” Student Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar of Karnataka was killed in shelling in Kharkiv city on Tuesday morning, becoming the first Indian victim in the Ukraine war. Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, a 21-year-old fourth-year medical student at Kharkiv National Medical University, was killed in Kharkiv on Tuesday after heavy shelling.

Tirumurti mentioned the death of an Indian Student in his speech at UNGA

“An Indian national was sadly slain in Kharkiv yesterday owing to the ongoing hostilities,” Tirumurti stated in his speech to the UNGA, referring to the death of the young Indian student in Kharkiv. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family, as well as to the families of all innocent civilians killed in this tragedy.”

“We demand safe and unhindered passage for all Indian people, including our students, who are currently stranded in Ukraine, especially in Kharkiv and other conflict-affected cities.” “This is a concern shared by many member nations,” he said.

Both Russia & Ukraine are the top priority

According to Tirumurti, India has made this demand to both Russia and Ukraine. “This is still our top priority.” “India opted to abstain in light of the totality of the emerging scenario,” he said. India remains “strong in its conviction” that “differences can only be resolved by conversation and diplomacy,” according to Tirumurti, who also stated that India backs the international community’s call for an immediate ceasefire.

In his interactions with foreign leaders, including the Russian Federation and Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “unequivocally expressed” this. India has established special aircraft to return Indians home from crisis zones, emphasizing that “ensuring the well-being and safety of our nationals” is a core duty of every government.

He informed the UN General Assembly that the Indian government had dispatched senior ministers as Special Envoys to nations bordering Ukraine to aid in the evacuation process. “At this time, we thank all of Ukraine’s neighboring countries for opening their borders and providing all facilities to our embassies,” he said.

Modi has “underscored” the urgent need for humanitarian access and the relocation of stranded civilians, Tirumurti told the UNGA. “We also promote humanitarian access to war zones that is safe and secure.” India expressed its “sincere hope” that the second round of talks between Russia and Ukraine “would result in a constructive result.”

India asks all UN member states to demonstrate their commitment to the UN Charter’s ideals, international law, and all states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. India has already despatched humanitarian help to Ukraine, including medications, medical equipment, and other relief supplies, according to Tirumurti. “In the next days, we’ll be sending more of these tranches,” he said.

141 nations voted against Russia

The resolution was adopted with overwhelming support in the 193-member General Assembly, with 141 nations voting in favor and five voting against. Afghanistan, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Kuwait, Singapore, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States were among the nearly 100 UN Member States who backed the resolution titled “Aggression Against Ukraine.” To be enacted at the UNGA, the resolution needed a 2/3 majority of those voting yes or no.

The UNGA resolution was similar to the one circulated last Friday in the 15-nation Security Council, on which India also voted no. The UNSC resolution, which gained 11 votes in favor and three abstentions, was vetoed after permanent member Russia exercised its veto. Following the Council’s failure to pass the resolution, the Security Council voted again on Sunday to call a rare “emergency special session” of the 193-member General Assembly to address the crisis.

India voted no on this resolution once more, stating that “there is no other option but to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue.” Despite Moscow’s vote against it, the procedural resolution was accepted on Sunday, and the UNGA held a rare emergency special session on the Ukraine issue on Monday.

Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the UNGA, presided over the historic session, which was just the 11th such emergency session since 1950. With the approval of the UNSC resolution on Sunday, the Council resolved to convene an emergency extraordinary session of the UNGA for the first time in 40 years.

The resolution requested Russia to stop force against Ukraine

The resolution requested that Russia stop using force against Ukraine immediately and refrain from threatening or using force against any other UN member state. The resolution, which condemned Russia’s declaration of a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, requested that Moscow withdraw all of its military forces from Ukraine’s territory within internationally recognized borders “immediately, totally, and unconditionally.”

The resolution also condemns Russia’s decision on the status of certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions on February 21 as a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as a violation of the Charter’s principles, and demands that Russia reverse the decision on the status of certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions immediately and unconditionally.

It also urged the parties to adhere to the Minsk agreements and to work constructively toward their full implementation in appropriate international organizations, including the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group.

While a UNSC resolution denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would not have been legally enforceable, votes in the 193-member UN body are symbolic of global opinion on the situation and have political weight because they represent the desire of the whole UN membership. 

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