• UN majority thumbs down Crimea annexation

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    Russian naval flags are seen on the Zaporizhzhia’ former Ukrainian submarine (center) moored between the Alrosa (left) and PZS-50 (right) Russian submarines in the bay of the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Friday. Ukraine’s maritime forces have been severely diminished by the Russian intervention in Crimea after they lost 12 of their 17 warships to Moscow, including Ukraine’s only Foxtrot-class diesel-electric submarine of the 1970s-era, the Zaporizhzhia, defense analysts Jane’s said. AFP PHOTO

    Russian naval flags are seen on the Zaporizhzhia’ former Ukrainian submarine (center) moored between the Alrosa (left) and PZS-50 (right) Russian submarines in the bay of the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Friday. Ukraine’s maritime forces have been severely diminished by the Russian intervention in Crimea after they lost 12 of their 17 warships to Moscow, including Ukraine’s only Foxtrot-class diesel-electric submarine of the 1970s-era, the Zaporizhzhia, defense analysts Jane’s said. AFP PHOTO

    UNITED NATIONS, United States: The United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Thursday (Friday in Manila) adopted a Western-backed resolution declaring Crimea’s breakaway referendum illegitimate and refusing to recognize Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.

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    The non-binding measure passed with a comfortable majority in the 193-member body, with 100 votes in favor and 11 votes against. But 58 abstained and more than 20 did not vote.

    Ukraine, which drafted the resolution, welcomed its adoption and called for a “stronger and more concrete” united, international front against Russian aggression.

    “I’m very much satisfied with the vote . . . [an]overwhelming majority of nations in the world supported this resolution,” acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya said.

    He had urged the international community to back the text, hoping an overwhelming show of support would ward off further Russian intervention on Ukrainian territory.

    “I am convinced that a strong vote today will help to deter further aggressive moves,” Deshchytsya told the assembly.

    “It sends an essential message that the international community will not allow what has happened in Crimea to set a precedent to further challenges to our rules,” he added.

    Western diplomats wanted a strong majority vote to press home what they say is Russia’s isolation, but there had been fears that a high number of countries would abstain.

    Moscow sees victory
    Moscow’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin claimed the vote was a “moral victory” for Russian diplomacy, saying that “almost half” the UN membership refused to support the resolution.

    “An increasing number of countries are beginning to understand the complexity of the situation and the motives behind the actions of Crimea and the Russian Federation,” he said.

    But the resolution did garner more support than a similar text passed in 2009 over the Georgia crisis.

    Ukraine submitted the draft resolution, writing the text in moderate language in the hope of attracting a maximum number of votes, and it makes no direct reference to Russia.

    The text is similar to a US-drafted resolution submitted to the Security Council on March 19, which Russia vetoed. China abstained and the other 13 members of the council voted in favor.

    Thursday’s resolution repeats that the March 16 referendum in Crimea has “no validity” and asks countries not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Black Sea peninsula.

    It calls on all states to refrain from any attempts to modify Ukraine’s borders through the threat or use of force or other unlawful means and calls for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

    Ukraine said that a vote for the resolution was a vote for the UN charter, while a vote against or an abstention undermined it.

    “One month has cost us dearly. More inaction may cost us this organization,” Deshchytsya said.

    US urged ‘YES’ vote
    The United States backed Ukraine’s request and criticized Russia.

    US Ambassador Samantha Power told the assembly it was “disheartening in the extreme to see Russia carry on as if Ukrainians have no legitimate interest in Crimea.”

    “Ukraine is justified in seeking our votes in reaffirming and protecting its borders,” she said.

    “We urge you to vote ‘yes’ on a resolution that enshrines the centrality of territorial integrity and that calls for a diplomatic not a military solution to this crisis,” Power said.

    Russia stuck to its position, saying it had no right to refuse support to Crimeans in their right to self-determination.

    The 11 countries that voted against the text were Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Western powers voted overwhelmingly in favor. Among the abstentions were Afghanistan, China, India and Pakistan, as well many South American nations.

    Israel and Iran were among those that did not vote.

    AFP

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    1 Comment

    1. The UN has been practicing double standards for so long it has ceased to be credible. The secession of the Crimea from the Ukraine is illegal but the secession of Kosovo from Serbia is legal ??? The dissolution of the USSR is legal but the rights of the people of the Crimea to stay with Russia is not legal? The Crimea was part of Russia for hundreds of years and was made part of the Ukraine by the mere passage of a USSR law (because then premiere Khruschev was Ukrainian). Since the USSR no longer exists then the law which made the Crimea part of Ukraine also no longer exists. The people of the Crimea has the right to choose where they would like to belong.