India abstains from voting in UN on Ukraine resolution - this time brought by Russia

·3 min read
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia addresses a special session of the UN General Assembly on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (REUTERS)
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia addresses a special session of the UN General Assembly on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (REUTERS)

India, which has refrained from vocally condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine twice earlier, again abstained from voting but this time for a UN Security Council resolution proposed by Moscow that was overwhelmingly defeated.

The resolution by Russia failed to get adopted in the 15-member Security Council on Wednesday after it failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes as 13 members, including US, Britain and France abstained.

The Russian resolution demanded voluntary and unhindered evacuation of civilians in Ukraine, and the need for civilians to be fully protected but was criticised for making no reference to its invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow’s draft resolution was only supported by its ally China which has also not called out Vladimir Putin for its war on Ukraine but urged de-escalation.

It was the first time that India joined the West at the UN platform in abstaining from a resolution over the Ukraine crisis after previously skipping voting twice at UNSC and once in UN General Assembly.

New Delhi did not also make any statement explaining why it skipped the vote while other countries made statements after the vote on the resolution.

The US ambassador to UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield blamed Russia for deflecting blame for the humanitarian crisis it has created in Ukraine.

"It really is unconscionable that Russia would have the audacity to put forward a resolution asking the international community to solve a humanitarian crisis that Russia alone created," she said.

"Russia does not care about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions... If they cared, they would stop fighting. Russia is the aggressor, the attacker, the invader, the sole party in Ukraine engaged in a campaign of brutality against the people of Ukraine, and they want us to pass a resolution that does not acknowledge their culpability."

UK ambassador Barbara Woodward slammed Russia for ignoring the “war crimes” it is committing in Ukraine.

"Russia’s draft called for all parties to respect international humanitarian law. It ignored that Russia is committing war crimes. Russia’s draft called for the protection of civilians, including women and children. But it omitted that Russia is bombing maternity hospitals, schools and homes," Ms Woodward said.

Explaining the vote in favour of Russia, Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun, said members should focus on humanitarian issues, "transcend the political differences" and "respond to the humanitarian crisis in a positive, pragmatic and constructive manner."

Russia however, lashed out on countries not supporting his resolution, saying it “exposed all who place politicising of the humanitarian file above the UN support for providing humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainians in need”.

Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia categorically rejected a US claim that his country had no right to submit such a resolution.

The defeat of Russia’s resolution showed its failure to get widespread support for its war in Ukraine, which marked its one-month anniversary on Thursday.

India on the other hand is facing a testing time walking a tightrope between what it called “time-tested” and largest arms supplier Russia one side and the West on the other.

New Delhi, just like China, has called Russia and Ukraine to give diplomacy and dialogue a chance as senior officials in Washington as it faces pressure from the US officials to “take a clear position” and “to do the right thing”.

US president Joe Biden on Tuesday said India is the only Quad group of countries whose response to Mr Putin has had been “somewhat shaky”.

“The Quad - with the possible exception of India being somewhat shaky on some of these - but Japan has been extremely strong, so is Australia in terms of dealing with Putin’s aggression,” he said.

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