Russia Vetoes U.N. Resolution Demanding Troop Withdrawal From Ukraine

China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstain.

By , a senior staff writer at Foreign Policy.
Vassily Nebenzya (center), Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, keeps his hand down during a vote on a draft resolution that would deplore Russia for invading Ukraine at U.N. headquarters in New York on Feb. 25.
Vassily Nebenzya (center), Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, keeps his hand down during a vote on a draft resolution that would deplore Russia for invading Ukraine at U.N. headquarters in New York on Feb. 25.
Vassily Nebenzya (center), Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, keeps his hand down during a vote on a draft resolution that would deplore Russia for invading Ukraine at U.N. headquarters in New York on Feb. 25. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Putin’s War

Russia on Friday vetoed a U.S.-backed U.N. Security Council resolution deploring its invasion of Ukraine, in a sign of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s growing isolation—but three countries abstained in the vote, at least in part to avoid antagonizing Moscow.

The resolution, which was co-sponsored by 81 countries, secured the support of 11 members of the council, with China, India, and the United Arab Emirates casting abstentions. The United States had to soften the language of the text to forestall the possibility of China casting a second veto, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the negotiations.

The original draft demanded that Russia halt its offensive and withdraw its forces from Ukraine under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, a legally binding provision that has been traditionally enforced through the imposition of sanctions or the use of force. Beijing indicated during negotiations that it would be easier to accept the adoption of a resolution passed under the less powerful Chapter 6. The United States and other backers of the resolution made the change.

Russia on Friday vetoed a U.S.-backed U.N. Security Council resolution deploring its invasion of Ukraine, in a sign of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s growing isolation—but three countries abstained in the vote, at least in part to avoid antagonizing Moscow.

The resolution, which was co-sponsored by 81 countries, secured the support of 11 members of the council, with China, India, and the United Arab Emirates casting abstentions. The United States had to soften the language of the text to forestall the possibility of China casting a second veto, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the negotiations.

The original draft demanded that Russia halt its offensive and withdraw its forces from Ukraine under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, a legally binding provision that has been traditionally enforced through the imposition of sanctions or the use of force. Beijing indicated during negotiations that it would be easier to accept the adoption of a resolution passed under the less powerful Chapter 6. The United States and other backers of the resolution made the change.

The United States and its allies also offered more cosmetic changes, for instance, deploring rather than condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The changes, however, were not sufficient to persuade India and the UAE to vote in favor of the resolution. 

The United States and other supporters of the draft are now expected to put the resolution to a vote before the 193-member U.N. General Assembly, where the United States hopes it can demonstrate the extent of Russia’s political isolation.

Colum Lynch is a senior staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @columlynch

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