The U.N. Security Council failed to adopt a U.S.-backed Resolution condemning Russia’s incursion in Ukraine. However, Beijing’s abstention was viewed as a major achievement by the United States.
Eleven countries voted in favor of the proposed measure, which would have required Russia to immediately withdraw forces from Ukraine. China, India, and the United Arab Emirates were among three countries that abstained.
Speaking after the vote, U.S. After the vote, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Ambassador to United Nations described Russia’s recklessness and irresponsibility in launching this week’s military operation.
“Russia, you can veto this resolution, but you cannot veto our voices,” she said. “You cannot veto the Ukrainian people, you cannot veto the U.N. charter, and you will not veto accountability.”
The high-stakes session represented a test of the Biden administration’s ability to sway countries that have appeared to remain on the fence amid President Vladimir Putin’s operation, which U.S. officials say aims to replace Ukraine’s elected government.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called the resolution “anti-Russian” and unbalanced, accusing the West of ignoring what he called “blood-chilling crimes” by the government in Kyiv.
The resolution would have also required Russia to reverse its official recognition of breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been battling government forces since 2014. The resolution also demanded that humanitarian assistance be made available.
Richard Gowan, a U.N. expert at the International Crisis Group, said China’s abstention would be a relief to the United States.
“The U.S. and its allies watered down the language of the resolution today precisely to keep China on board,” he said after the vote. But, I wouldn’t misunderstand China’s refusal to vote as an attack on Russia. Moscow knows that China is keeping its head down, and won’t take any serious action against it.”
The Emirati representative, Lana Nusseibeh, called the vote a “foregone conclusion.”