UN Votes to Condemn Russia's Invasion of Ukraine, Demand Troop Withdrawal

Israel joined 140 other countries in voting for the largely symbolic measure. Only four countries other than Russia voted against the motion

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141 UN member states voted to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Wednesday's emergency vote.
141 UN member states voted to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Wednesday's emergency vote.Credit: Seth Wenig /AP

The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine “in the strongest terms” on Wednesday, demanding that Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces.

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The resolution, supported by 141 of the assembly's 193 members, ended a rare General Assembly emergency session called by the Security Council as battles rage in the Ukrainian port of Kherson and Russian air strikes pummel the country, forcing upwards of 800,000 people to flee.

Only four countries other than Russia voted against the motion: Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria.

Israel voted for the measure, as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid noted it would on Monday, after Israel did not publicly endorse a Security Council vote condemning Russia last week.

Israel is not a member of the Security Council, and its backing would have been purely symbolic.

“Israel has been and will be on the right side of history. Those are our values,” the foreign minister said, adding that the country is “thoroughly examining the potential impact of sanctions on Russia.” Lapid also noted that Israel has sent three planes containing a large supply of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides thanked Israel for voting in favor, and credited the country for convincing others to do the same.

"Enormous thanks to Israel for helping rally more members to stand with Ukraine in today’s historic UN vote. Over 141 votes to hold Russia accountable. Diplomacy matters," he Tweeted.

Despite Israel's vote on the UN floor, its stance on the Russian invasion has largely been out of sync with the international community and Western nations in particular, and has even provoked rare bipartisan criticism in Washington, as Jerusalem strives to maintain Moscow’s permission to operate over Syria's skies, where Russia effectively controls the airspace and lets Israel attack Iranian targets according to numerous foreign reports.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, a resolution adopted in the assembly is not binding under international law and is more of a symbolic move.

Russia has destroyed critical infrastructure, including drinking water and gas for millions of people and appeared to be preparing to increase the brutality of its campaign against Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a speech to the General Assembly.

“This is an extraordinary moment,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “Now, at more than any other point in recent history, the United Nations is being challenged,” she said and made a plea: “Vote yes if you believe UN member states – including your own – have a right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. Vote yes if you believe Russia should be held to account for its actions.”

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia denied that Moscow was targeting civilians and warned that the adoption of the resolution might in fact spur further escalation.

Ben Samuels contributed to this report.

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