The international community sent a clear message to Moscow on Wednesday, declaring the country’s so-called referendums and attempted annexation of parts of Ukraine illegal and invalid under international law.
In its strongest show of support for Ukraine since Moscow’s February 24 invasion, the U.N. General Assembly voted 143-5, adopting a resolution condemning and rejecting Russia’s move to annex Ukrainian territory.
Thirty-five countries abstained, but those votes do not count toward the two-thirds majority needed for adoption.
Voting with Russia were Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Nicaragua.
In a tweet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the states for their support in what he called a “historic UNGA resolution.”
Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya told reporters that the outcome of the vote “was amazing.”
“I think that the countries made the right choice — to defend the principles of the U.N. Charter and to follow the Charter,” he said.
Despite concerns that international support for Ukraine might be waning after nearly eight months of war that have exacerbated global food, energy and inflation crises, the General Assembly’s vote demonstrated that the international community is still largely united in its stance against Russia’s war.
Wednesday’s vote surpassed the support for a March 2 assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion and calling for it to end.
That resolution drew the support of 141 members. Only five voted against, including Russia and its allies Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea.
By comparison, a similar resolution in 2014 that condemned and rejected Russia’s attempted annexation of the autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in Ukraine received 100 votes supporting the resolution, 11 against and 58 abstentions.
Wednesday’s daylong meeting was the continuation of a special emergency session opened on Monday to discuss Russia’s so-called referendums and attempted annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine’s east, and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the country’s south.