Notable Interventions on UN Resolution and Anti-Russia Sanctions

Below are excerpts from statements made by some of the countries which spoke at the UN General Assembly debate on the U.S. anti-Russian resolution, or on the question of anti-Russia sanctions.  Some who spoke in the UN debate voted for the resolution but opposed the escalation of the crisis and widening of the collateral damage upon the whole world from the U.S.-led sanctions against Russia. Some also denounced the racism being expressed towards refugees from Ukraine, mainly those of African origin.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The DPRK voted against the resolution. Its position was clearly made in a press release on February 28. "The situation of Ukraine is now focusing the attention of the world," it said. "The root cause of the Ukraine crisis totally lies in the hegemonic policy of the U.S. and the West which indulge themselves in high-handedness and arbitrariness towards other countries.

"The U.S. and the West, in defiance of Russia's reasonable and just demand to provide it with a legal guarantee for security, have systematically undermined the security environment of Europe by becoming more blatant in their attempts to deploy attack weapons system while defiantly pursuing NATO's eastward expansion.

"The U.S. and the West, having devastated Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are mouthing phrases about 'respect for sovereignty' and 'territorial integrity' over the Ukrainian situation which was detonated by themselves. That does not stand to reason at all.

"The greatest danger the world faces now is high-handedness and arbitrariness by the U.S. and its followers that are shaking international peace and stability.

"The reality is proof positive once again that peace will not be achieved worldwide as long as there remains the unilateral and double-dealing policy of the U.S. which threatens the peace and security of sovereign states.”

In a separate meeting of the General Assembly held February 27 to review and modernize the UN Charter itself, the representative of the DPRK reminded the entire Assembly of the crimes and aggression committed by the U.S. against Korea in the name of the United Nations. The Ambassador said: "The Special Committee should pay due attention to dismantling an illegal body like the 'UN Command' in south Korea in violation of the UN Charter. As is well known, the 'UN Command' is what the United States crafted by arbitrarily abusing the name of the UN in order to conceal its aggressive identity as an instigator of the Korean War back in 1950.

"Today the Command is posing serious threats to peace and security on the Korean peninsula and the rest of the region in service to the U.S. hostile policy against the DPRK and its strategy towards Asia.

"The U.S. cooked up the relevant 'resolution' on manufacturing the 'UN Command' in flagrant violation of article 32 of chapter 5 related to participation of a party to a dispute under consideration by the Security Council and paragraph 3 of article 27 of chapter 5 of the UN Charter related to the decision making process at the Security Council."

Finally, he stressed that the "UN Command" in south Korea is "An out-and-out U.S. Command which is not subjected to direction from the UN nor covered by the UN budget and has misused the name and the flag of the UN, in every way. Therefore, positive measures should be taken to immediately dismantle it in accordance with the resolution adopted at the 30th session of the UN General Assembly back in 1975."


Syria voted against. Syria's Ambassador said that "despite successive crises and major challenges that have confronted the international community for decades, Western States have never demonstrated so much excitement in calling an emergency special session of the General Assembly, which demonstrates a politics of hypocrisy and double standards, based on interests and not principles."

He continued, "The memories and files of the United Nations have ample proof of illegitimate acts of intervention by the United States and its NATO allies that have caused millions of innocent deaths in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, not to mention the blockades imposed on people in Latin America and elsewhere to achieve their own objectives."

He condemned the campaign organized and led by the U.S and the West and their media against Russia, ignoring the suffering of the people of the Donbas region and ignoring Russia's legitimate security concerns while not hesitating to provide weapons, including missiles, to Ukraine.


Belarus voted against the draft resolution. Their ambassador said the international community must bear its share of responsibility for what is currently happening in Ukraine. Recalling the signing of the Minsk agreements eight years ago as well as the relevant resolutions adopted by the Council and the Assembly, he said the international community was unable to convince the Ukrainian authorities to abide by these documents. Ukraine has found itself in a state of civil war for years and civilians have been dying in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Noting that operative paragraph 8 of the draft text hypocritically calls on all parties to fulfil the Minsk agreements, he asked its sponsors where they had been for the past eight years.


Cuba abstained. Cuba's Ambassador began by saying Cuba champions International Law and is committed to the Charter of the United Nations. Cuba firmly supports the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in 2014 in Havana by the Heads of State and Governments of its region. Cuba is committed to International Humanitarian Law and calls on all parties to protect the civilian population, their possessions and infrastructure.

Cuba said this is a crisis of U.S. making. "The United States' and NATO's military moves in recent months towards regions adjacent to the Russian Federation, preceded by the delivery of modern weapons to Ukraine, which altogether add up to a military siege, are well known. [...] History will hold the United States accountable for the consequences of an increasingly offensive military doctrine outside NATO's borders, which threatens international peace, security and stability. [...] The draft resolution on the situation of Ukraine not adopted in the Security Council on 25 February was not intended as a genuine contribution to resolve the current crisis."

The Ambassador continued: "The text that is now being considered by this General Assembly suffers from the same shortcomings and lacks the necessary balance. It does not take into account the legitimate concerns of all the parties involved. It does not acknowledge either the responsibility of those who instigated or deployed aggressive actions that hasten the escalation of this conflict. Cuba will continue advocating a serious, constructive and realistic diplomatic solution to the current crisis in Europe by peaceful means, ensuring the security and sovereignty of all, and regional and international peace, stability and security."


Venezuela was unable to participate in the vote. During the debate its permanent ambassador to the UN, Samuel Moncada opened by saying that in its capacity as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Venezuela had voted in 2015 in favour of the "Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements" aimed at providing a peaceful solution to the civil war in Ukraine. He deplored that those Agreements were squandered after seven years of non-compliance, saying this served to deepen the fractures internally and the suffering of the civilian population. The violent internal crisis was exacerbated by the growing external pressure from the NATO military bloc towards Ukraine itself, he said, which had a destructive effect on security guarantees for all that are the basis of Europe’s security architecture, affecting especially the Russian Federation. He said the permanent expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe added a higher threat level of a strategic nature to the national crisis in Ukraine. "Our role today is not to fuel tensions and divisions on these three levels: national, regional and global."

The United Nations cannot be used to deepen conflicts, Moncada said. He proposed the crisis be addressed by the UN and “responsible members of the international community" in a balanced manner and with extreme caution to avoid deepening divisions. In this regard, he said, "we reject the application of unilateral coercive and retaliatory measures, whether economic, commercial or financial, as they will intensify the crisis and prolong the conflict. As humanity continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new global economic crisis will be imposed -- by design -- with the express purpose of generating suffering for hundreds of millions of people around the world. A crisis deliberately generated to destabilize a nuclear power. That is not the path to peace."

The Ambassador said the principle of indivisible security presupposes that the security of one country cannot sacrifice the security of others, and military blocs such as NATO cannot expand indefinitely, threatening the security of other regions of the planet. Therefore he said it was necessary to initiate direct negotiations "that will allow for an early, peaceful, comprehensive and lasting resolution of the current situation … taking into account the concerns of all parties concerned." This should involve a political dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, he said, welcoming the recent contacts in Belarus. There should also be direct talks on equal terms between Russia and NATO, he said, towards achieving "a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism."

In conclusion, Ambassador Moncada reiterated Venezuela’s "unwavering commitment to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations” and stated:  “From this rostrum we call for the cessation of war propaganda, as well as the discourse of intolerance, guided by hateful ideologies, and we emphasize that only through diplomacy, dialogue and containment, without pressure or sanctions, can we build a necessary firewall between the three levels of the crisis in Ukraine, and thus prevent a chain reaction that will lead us sleepwalking into the abyss."


Bolivia abstained. Addressing the General Assembly Bolivia spotlighted the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Palestine. Recalling the bombing of Yugoslavia which occurred without the authorization of the Council, he condemned the moral double standards shown by certain Powers which are fanning the flames of confrontation, rather than seeking peace.


China abstained and restated its consistent position that "one country's security must not come at the expense of another's and cautioning against the expansion of any military blocs. [...] The international community should stick to the overall direction of a political settlement and foster an enabling atmosphere and condition for direct dialogues between the parties concerned. [...] The top priority at present is to prevent the situation in Ukraine from escalating or even getting out of control [...]."

China's Ambassador said: "Regrettably, the draft resolution submitted to this emergency special session for vote has not taken full consideration of the history and complexity of the current crisis. It does not highlight the importance of the principle of indivisible security, or the urgency of promoting political settlement and stepping up diplomatic efforts. These are not in line with China's consistent positions."

"Blindly exerting pressure and imposing sanctions and creating division and confrontation will only further complicate the situation, and result in a rapid negative spillover of the crisis, that affects even more countries," he said.

China is actively promoting mediation efforts and Ukraine's Foreign Minister Kuleba said, "China has played a constructive role on this issue and that Ukraine is ready to step up communication with China." He looked forward to China's "mediation efforts for the ceasefire."

Lao People's Democratic Republic

The Lao People's Democratic Republic abstained. The Lao representative said his country has previously suffered the scourge of war and knows only too well the endless negative consequences it causes to innocent lives. While commending the United Nations and Member States that have offered humanitarian assistance to the affected people, he emphasized that his country remains skeptical of unilateral sanctions, cautioning that such measures could entail long-term impacts on innocent people, including the global community at large, especially during the pandemic. In that regard, he called upon all parties concerned to refrain from any action that could further fuel the escalation of tension, seek peaceful solutions, and restore peace and security. Expressing support for the ongoing effort to find a peaceful diplomatic settlement, he stressed the importance of taking into account the legitimate security concerns of all parties. "It is our fervent hope that, through this diplomatic effort, peace can be restored, peace which constitutes the heart and soul of our Organization, the United Nations," he said.


Vietnam abstained. Spokeswoman of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang tweeted that "Vietnam emphasized respect for international law and UN Charter, dialogue to achieve long-term solutions, protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and scale up humanitarian assistance. Vietnam welcomes the ongoing dialogue between Ukraine and Russia and hopes that the sides will soon find long-term peaceful solutions to differences in line with international law and taking account of legitimate rights and interests of the concerned parties."


The representative of Iran reiterated his country's principled position of respect for the Charter, international law and international humanitarian law. Stressing the importance of avoiding double standards in the maintenance of peace, he pointed to the conflict in Yemen. Expressing concern about the Council's inaction, he noted that his delegation abstained from the vote.


India abstained, as it did with the February 25 resolution the U.S. presented to the UN Security Council. India's ambassador reiterated his delegation's previous calls for an immediate cessation of violence and an end to hostilities, noting that all United Nations Member States are not only obliged to follow the Charter but also to respect international law, territorial integrity and State sovereignty.

South Africa

South Africa abstained. Her representative said the current text does not lead to an environment conducive to mediation and could lead to a deeper rift between the parties. Her delegation would also have preferred an open and transparent process in the negotiations rather than the resolution. She called on the international community to go beyond gestures that merely appear to promote peace without ensuring meaningful action. She also urged European countries to take steps to resolve the current situation whereby some African nationals and people of African descent at the borders of Ukraine are not allowed to cross and move to safety.


Brazil voted for the resolution but called for an end to escalating the conflict saying: Over recent years, the world has seen a deterioration of security and the balance of power in Eastern Europe, which paved the way for the current crisis. However, that "in no way justifies the use of force against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of any Member State." Urging an end to belligerent acts before it is too late, he also called upon all actors to reassess their decisions concerning the supply of weapons and the application of sanctions, particularly those which could affect the global economy in such critical areas as food security.


Serbia voted in favour. The ambassador recalled that the first major attack in Europe after the Second World War occurred in 1999 in the former Yugoslavia. He said that there had been no United Nations reaction with regard to Serbia, and the consequences are still felt today. For its part, Serbia will continue to advocate for ending conflict, expressing hope the parties will create peace through dialogue.


Djibouti voted in favour. Its representative urged that a country, if it has legitimate security concerns, prioritize the use of Charter tools. He reiterated the African Union's call to immediately establish a ceasefire and to start negotiations without delay under United Nations auspices. He expressed alarm at the persistent "representations of negativity" towards Africans and statements by so-called experts who are drawing distinctions between refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East and those fleeing conflict in Ukraine. "We are at a critical moment in the history of the United Nations and must put an end to conflict and do everything to prevent other conflicts. It is within our reach. [...] Let us mobilize our political will to put an end to them," he said.


Argentina voted in favour. Her Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero confirmed in a press conference on March 4 that the position of his country, as previously expressed by President Alberto Fernandez, is that dialogue and the use of diplomatic channels and not sanctions against Russia was needed to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

Argentina is calling for peace, to de-escalate the conflict, and unilateral coercive measures will not give rise to that, or to a frank dialogue to resolve the conflict and save lives, Cafiero said, adding that his government was also against taking down the signals of Russian television channels as requested by members of the opposition, in the interests of freedom of the press.


Mexico voted in favour. During his daily press conference on March 2 the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said his government would not be imposing any sanctions on Russia either. This is in spite of his previously expressed opinion that any kind of invasion, especially by the great powers, should become a thing of the past, as they are contrary to international law. López Obrador said economic sanctions were not part of the Mexican government's policy, and that instead it would work to promote dialogue to achieve peace. He said Mexico wants to maintain good relations with all the governments of the world and to be in conditions to be able to talk to the parties in conflict.

Asked for his opinion on the banning of Russian media as some countries are doing, he said he did not agree with media censorship. "I was against it when President Trump's social media account was cancelled, and I do not agree with Russian media or any other country's media being censored; we have to uphold freedom," he said.

Including in this complaints by individual Twitter users about their accounts allegedly being labelled as "Russian government-affiliated media" and having posts deleted for expressing opinions Twitter considers pro-Russia, he said, "There cannot be double talk, a double standard. We cannot be talking about freedom and at the same time be limiting freedom of expression."

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 3 - March 6, 2022

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