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UN General Assembly, Including Israel, Votes Overwhelmingly To Condemn Russia

INTERNATIONAL: The UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to adopt a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in the 193-member body to demand that Moscow immediately withdraw its forces from the soil of its sovereign neighbor.

For the first time in 40 years, the Security Council has convened an emergency special session of the General Assembly," United States Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said.

The final tally of the vote on the resolution, entitled “Aggression against Ukraine,” was 141-5 with 35 abstentions.

The only countries that voted against the resolution alongside Russia were Syria, North Korea, Belarus and Eritrea.a powerful indication of the international isolation that Russian President Vladimir Putin faces for invading his country’s smaller neighbor. Among those that abstained were China, India, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and South Africa.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but they do have clout in reflecting international opinion.

After Russia vetoed a similar, albeit legally binding, resolution in the Security Council on February 25, Ukraine and its supporters won approval for an emergency special session, the first since 1997, to try to spotlight opposition to Russia’s invasion. What unfolded was over two days of speeches that began on Monday in which more than 110 countries’ representatives took to the plenum podium to sound off on the invasion of Ukraine.

Israel also was among 96 countries that co-sponsored Wednesday’s resolution, a step it refused to take last week when a similar resolution came before the Security Council. That decision led US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield to express her disappointment to Erdan.

Since tensions between Russia and Ukraine began escalating, Israel has sought to avoid aligning too closely with either side. It’s one of the few countries that maintains relatively warm relations with both Ukraine, a fellow Western democracy, and Russia, which controls the airspace over Syria, in which Israel operates to target Iranian proxies.

The measure also called on Russia to reverse a decision to recognize two separatist parts of eastern Ukraine as independent.

As results of the vote came in, UN delegates in the General Assembly chamber rose to their feet and applauded, drowning out the speaker announcing the final tally.

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