UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Thursday blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urging an immediate cease-fire and protection for millions of civilians and the homes, schools and hospitals critical to their survival.
There was loud applause in the assembly chamber as the result of the vote was announced: 140-5 with only Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea joining Russia in opposing the measure. There were 38 abstentions, including Russian ally China, India, South Africa, Iran and Cuba.
The resolution, introduced by Ukraine, deplores the “dire humanitarian consequences” of Russia’s aggression which it says is “on a scale that the international community has not seen in Europe in decades.” It deplores Russia’s shelling, airstrikes and “besiegement” of densely populated cities, including the southern city of Mariupol, and demands unhindered access for humanitarian aid.
The vote was almost exactly the same as for the March 2 resolution the assembly adopted demanding an immediate Russian cease-fire, withdrawal of all its forces, and protection for all civilians and infrastructure indispensable to their survival. That vote was 141-5 with 35 abstentions.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called Thursday’s vote “an astounding success” and said “once again the world stood united” in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”
“Together, a strong majority of U.N. member states made clear that Russia — Russia — bears sole responsibility for the grave humanitarian crisis and violence in Ukraine,” she said. “Together, we called for the protection of all civilians fleeing the conflict and for steps to mitigate the increase in food insecurity caused by this senseless war.”