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UN General Assembly supported the territorial integrity of Ukraine with a vote of l00 in favor, 11 against, and 58 abstentions. The EU, USA, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine issued strong statements

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[notice noticeType=”approved” ]Photo: Andrii Deschchytsia, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, is pictured addressing members of the General Assembly. According to the Ukrainian diplomat, “after two weeks of military occupation, he recalled, “an integral part of Ukraine has been forcibly annexed by a state that had previously committed itself to guarantee the independence. sovereignty. and territorial integrity of my country in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum.” UN Photo.[/notice]

 

On March 27, Andrii Deshchytsia, Ukraine’s Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, presented a statement which said that an integral part of his country, Ukraine, had been forcibly annexed by a State that had previously committed itself to guaranteeing its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

He added that the draft resolution broke no new legal or normative ground, but sent an essential message that the international community would not allow events in Crimea to set a precedent for further challenges to the rules-based international framework. 

In a recorded vote of 100 in favour to 11 against, with 58 abstentions, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”. Calling on States, international organizations, and specialized agencies not to recognize any change in the status of Crimea or the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol, and to refrain from actions or dealings that might be interpreted as such. By doing so, the General Assembly affirmed its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence, unity, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, underscoring the invalidity of the March 16 referendum held in autonomous Crimea.

In his statement, the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs pointed out that “over the last month, we have witnessed the most flagrant violations of international law since the inception of the United Nations. After two weeks of military occupation, an integral part of Ukraine has been forcibly annexed by a state that had previously committed itself to guarantee the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of my country in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum.

By a state which happens to be one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, entrusted by the UN membership with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

He went on to say that “this aggression was meticulously calibrated to strike at the time when Ukraine was forming an inclusive Government , now, despite all odds, such a Government is up and running. It was aimed and is still aiming to undermine Presidential elections in my country. Let me assure you that Ukraine is determined to carry on with holding elections as scheduled on May 25. “

79th plenary meeting of the General Assembly 68th session

Shown here is Andrii Deshchytsia, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, who said that “what happened in my country is a direct violation of the United Nations Charter. Many struggle to grasp the reality – it happened in Ukraine, in the very heart of Europe. It happened in the 2lst Century . “ UN Photo.

Andrii Deshchytsia also added that “eight rounds of urgent Security Council discussions on the military intervention clearly demonstrated the extent of the Russian Federation’s isolation on this issue. The mixture of concocted justifications, half-truths, deliberate distortions, insults and naked lies offered by the Russian side failed to impress the Council. “

In addition, the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, referred to the opening session of the third Nuclear Security Summit which the UN Secretary-General attended.

In speaking about the UN’s efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, he quoted comments made by Ban Ki-moon in which he said: “In the case of Ukraine, security assurances were an essential condition for its accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, the credibility of the assurances given to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 has been seriously undermined by recent events. The implications are profound, both for regional security and the integrity of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. “

List of sponsors to the resolution adopted A/68/39 on the “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” included Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Canada, and Costa Rica. The following countries sponsored the draft resolution, as well: Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic. Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece.

Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, L ichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

Portrait of H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Permanent Observer of the European Union.

Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations. UN Photo/JC Mcllwaine.

Thomas Mayr- Harting, Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, voiced support for the draft resolution, as well, stating that ” the EU reconfirmed the importance of fundamental Charter principles. It also affirmed the General Assembly’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. He said that the European Union did not recognize the illegal referendum in Crimea, which was a clear violation of Ukraine’s Constitution, and strongly condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, which it equally would not recognize.

The Ambassador urged the Russian Federation to take steps to de-escalate the crisis, immediately pull Its forces back to their garrisons, reduce their strength to pre-crisis numbers, in line with its international commitments, avail itself of all relevant international mechanisms to find a peaceful and negotiated solution, and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The European Union welcomed the agreement that had led up to the deployment of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission to Ukraine and applauded the deployment of a United Nations human rights monitoring mission, he stated. He also commended Ukraine’s measured response so far and was ready to provide strong financial support for its economic and financial stabilization.

79th plenary meeting of the General Assembly 68th session

Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations addressing the UN General Assembly. UN Photo.

Samantha Power (United States) said the draft resolution was about only one issue: affirming a commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

With it, “we make clear that borders are not mere suggestions, “ she said. The text also expressed a desire for a peaceful outcome to the dispute between Ukraine and the Russian Federation through a political dialogue that would reflect every part of society. Crimea was part of Ukraine, she emphasized, pointing out that while self-determination was a widely welcome value, at the same time, the United States recognized the importance of national and international law.

79th plenary meeting of the General Assembly 68th session

View of the conference hall where Member States voted on a draft resolution supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine. UN Photo

US Ambassador Samantha Powers also stated that coercion could not be the means by which one “self-determined”, she stressed, calling for a de-escalation of tensions and an electoral process that would allow all Ukrainians to choose their leaders freely, fairly and without coercion. Ukraine was justified in seeking a vote that would reaffirm respect for its borders and help encourage the Russian Federation to end its isolation and shift from its policy of confrontation to good-faith diplomatic efforts, she said.

Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

In supporting the draft resolution on the “territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Georgia’s representative Kaha Imnadze associating himself with the statement by the European Union delegation, said his Government unequivocally supported Ukraine’s political independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders. At the same time he stated that Georgia did not recognize as legal and legitimate the March 16 referendum conducted in Crimea and stated, “the situation in mainland Ukraine was reminiscent of the Russian Federation’s seizure of Georgia’s Abhkazia and Tskhinvali regions of 2008, pointing out that 20 percent of his country ‘s territory remained under illegal Russian occupation.

He then went on to say that “more than 400,000 internally displaced persons and refugees were denied the right to return home and the European Union-brokered six-point ceasefire agreement was yet to be implemented, and international monitors had been denied access to the occupied territories. Barbed wire fences were still being installed along the occupation lines and communities divided by the war were denied basic human rights and freedoms.

He also said, Georgia’s calls on the Russian Federation to reciprocate a pledge of non-use of force remained unanswered, he continued, adding that Russian gunships and drones frequently violate its airspace.

He recalled that, following the Russian Federation ‘s veto of a 2009 draft resolution that would have extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Georgia, and six years after the end of that war, no one had been allowed to monitor human rights violations in the occupied territories. Georgia joined the international community in stressing that neither partial nor total disruption of Ukraine’s national unity and territorial integrity, nor the modification of its borders, should occur through the threat or actual use of force, or other unlawful means.

Pictured here is Vladimir Lupan, Permanent Representative of Moldova to the United Nations. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Pictured here is Vladimir Lupan, Permanent Representative of Moldova to the United Nations. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

The Permanent Representative of Moldova to the United Nations Vladimir Lupan added that “the future of Ukraine can be considered and decided only upon the free will and aspirations of all Ukrainians themselves, without any outside influence.”

The Crimean referendum was not legal because it contravened Ukraine’s Constitution, as well as international law. Ambassador Lupan concluded by saying, “as a country that has an unresolved, protracted separatist conflict on its own territory for over 20 years, we look forward to the resolution of conflicts through peaceful means  and dialogue. “

 

In the video that follows entitled “UN/GA “ dated March 27, 2014, the European Union Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, Thomas Mahr-Harding, speaks about the GA resolution on the “territorial integrity of Ukraine”, as well as Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the UN and Andrii Deshehytsia , the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs on Ukraine. UNTV.

 

 

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.

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