A resolution proposed by Ukraine and backed by the United States and the European Union was approved by the United Nations General Assembly Thursday.
The resolution reaffirms Ukraine’s territorial integrity and regards the annexation by Russia of its Crimean Peninsula as illegal, describing the referendum Putin used to annex Crimea as “having no validity.”
The two-page document calls on all countries to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty and to desist in any actions aimed at disrupting Ukrainian unity. It urges a peaceful resolution, welcomes the intervention of the United Nations on its behalf, underscores Russia’s referendum as invalid, and calls on the world not recognize any redrawing of its borders.
The resolution had 100 votes in favor, 11 votes against, and 58 abstentions. The overwhelming majority reflects widespread international opposition to Russia’s actions and support for Ukrainian unity.
Andriy Deshchytsia, Ukraine’s acting foreign minister, called Russia’s actions “a direct violation of the United Nations Charter.”
Eduardo Ulibarri, Costa Rica’s ambassador, remarked that small states must rely on the power of international law to “defend our sovereignty,” and argued the resolution proposed by the Ukraine would help to reaffirm that power.
Unlike the United Nations Security Council, the General Assembly’s resolutions are not legally binding. However, this vote is a symbolic warning to Putin that international opinion is not behind his actions.