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U.N. resolution to end Ukraine war: How countries voted and who abstained

The U.N. General Assembly voted Feb. 23 in favor of a resolution calling for Russia to “immediately, completely and unconditionally” withdraw from Ukraine. (Video: Reuters)
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The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday, the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, in favor of a resolution calling for an end to the war and demanding that Russia leave Ukrainian territory. The nonbinding resolution advocates for peace, reaffirms support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and highlights the need for accountability for war crimes.

A large majority — 141 countries — voted in favor of the resolution, while 32 countries, including Asian heavyweights China and India, abstained from voting. Seven countries, including Russia, voted against the resolution.

Nearly a year ago, in March 2022, a similar resolution was adopted by the United Nations. The number of supporters of an end to the war was the same, at 141. However, 35 abstained and five backed Russia.

A global divide on the Ukraine war is deepening

Which countries voted against the resolution, siding with Russia?

Mali, which had on two previous occasions abstained from voting on U.N. resolutions on Ukraine, shifted its position to vote against this week’s resolution, coming out in support of Russia.

Its government has been the recipient of renewed Russian military assistance as the Kremlin seeks to expand its global influence. Earlier this month, Malian authorities welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a visit aimed at strengthening security and economic cooperation. Last year, The Washington Post reported that hundreds of fighters of the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization, had arrived in Mali to fight Islamist militants following a coup d’etat.

Besides Mali, the Central American nation of Nicaragua also voted against the resolution. (It had previously abstained once and voted against another resolution in October.) Russia has maintained a security partnership with Nicaragua in recent years, though the ties between the two go back to the Cold War.

Countries which voted against the resolution: Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria.

Which countries abstained?

China, India and South Africa were among the 32 countries that abstained from voting on the resolution.

China abstained from voting for the third time since the invasion one year ago and has sought to position itself as neutral in the dispute. The Foreign Ministry on Friday called for an end to sanctions against Russia and an eventual cease-fire, saying it respects the sovereignty of all nations. “Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable way out to resolve the Ukraine crisis,” the statement said.

The 12-point proposal aims to rebuff Western concerns that the country might soon provide direct support to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine. This week, the Pentagon warned China of consequences if China were to provide direct support to Russia’s war effort.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi visited Moscow ahead of the anniversary, and the Kremlin has suggested that Chinese President Xi Jinping would visit Russia soon.

Among major democracies, India abstained from voting on the resolution. India has enjoyed close ties with Russia for decades and relies on the country for much of its weaponry. Since the invasion, India has refrained from criticizing Russia directly, but has called for peace and negotiation. Its trade with Russia, especially imports of crude oil, has hit all-time highs since the invasion. Despite efforts by the United States and other Western allies of Ukraine, India has maintained its position and doubled down on its oil purchases, citing national interest.

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Countries which abstained: Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Congo, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.

Which countries voted in favor?

Much of the world, led by the Western alliance in support of Ukraine, voted to demand Russia end the war. The votes in favor of Ukraine remained unchanged from a year ago.

But that support may be getting tested. The Washington Post reported that beyond the West, the world is far from united on the issues raised by the Ukraine war, and that Russia often gets a sympathetic hearing in the Global South.

Countries which voted for the resolution: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Antigua-Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia.

One year of Russia’s war in Ukraine

Portraits of Ukraine: Every Ukrainian’s life has changed since Russia launched its full-scale invasion one year ago — in ways both big and small. They have learned to survive and support each other under extreme circumstances, in bomb shelters and hospitals, destroyed apartment complexes and ruined marketplaces. Scroll through portraits of Ukrainians reflecting on a year of loss, resilience and fear.

Battle of attrition: Over the past year, the war has morphed from a multi-front invasion that included Kyiv in the north to a conflict of attrition largely concentrated along an expanse of territory in the east and south. Follow the 600-mile front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces and take a look at where the fighting has been concentrated.

A year of living apart: Russia’s invasion, coupled with Ukraine’s martial law preventing fighting-age men from leaving the country, has forced agonizing decisions for millions of Ukrainian families about how to balance safety, duty and love, with once-intertwined lives having become unrecognizable. Here’s what a train station full of goodbyes looked like last year.

Deepening global divides: President Biden has trumpeted the reinvigorated Western alliance forged during the war as a “global coalition,” but a closer look suggests the world is far from united on issues raised by the Ukraine war. Evidence abounds that the effort to isolate Putin has failed and that sanctions haven’t stopped Russia, thanks to its oil and gas exports.