India votes against Russia’s move to object to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressing UNSC through video

Breaking its streak of abstentions on votes related to Ukraine, India has voted for a 'procedural matter' that Russia opposed at the UN Security Council

Breaking its streak of abstentions on votes related to Ukraine, India has voted for a 'procedural matter' that Russia opposed at the UN Security Council
Breaking its streak of abstentions on votes related to Ukraine, India has voted for a 'procedural matter' that Russia opposed at the UN Security Council

India breaks the streak of UN abstentions on Ukraine issue, votes against Russia

Having, so far, refrained from voting against Russia on the Ukraine issue, India for the first time has voted against it during a “procedural vote” at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) inviting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address a meeting through a video conference. In the 15-member UNSC, 13 countries including India voted against Russian contention that Zelenskyy should be present in person at the meeting. Russia voted against the invitation while China abstained. Voting took place late Wednesday evening.

Explaining India’s stand, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in New Delhi on Thursday it was not a vote against Russia. India favored inviting the Ukraine President for a video conference at the meeting, he said adding India had on two occasions earlier also wanted Zelenskyy to speak.

India has repeatedly urged Russia and Ukraine to resolve the conflict through diplomacy and dialogue. India currently is a non-permanent member of the 15-member UNSC for a two-year term, which ends in December. The UNSC held a meeting on Wednesday to take stock of the six-month-old conflict on the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily A Nebenzia requested a procedural vote concerning the Ukrainian President’s participation in the meeting by video teleconference. Following statements by him and Ferit Hoxha of Albania, the Council extended an invitation to Zelensky to participate in the meeting via video teleconference by a vote of 13 in favor to one against.

Nebenzia insisted that Russia does not oppose Zelensky’s participation, but such participation must be in-person. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council decided to work virtually, but such meetings were informal and, after the pandemic’s peak, the Council returned to the provisional rules of procedure, he argued.

Reiterating that his country’s objection pertains specifically to the President’s participation by video teleconference, he called for a procedural vote on this matter, to which India and 12 other countries did not agree and supported Zelensky to address the Council via video conference.

Zelensky in his remarks via a video conference called for the Russian Federation to be held accountable for its crimes of aggression against Ukraine. “If Moscow is not stopped now, then all these Russian murderers will inevitably end up in other countries,” he said. “It is on the territory of Ukraine that the world’s future will be decided,” he added. “Our independence is your security,” he told the UNSC.

Zelensky alleged that Russia has placed the world on the brink of nuclear catastrophe by turning the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant into a war zone. The plant has six reactors — only one exploded at Chornobyl — and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must take permanent control of the situation as soon as possible, he said. The Ukrainian President called on Russia to cease its “nuclear blackmail” and completely withdraw from the plant.

Putting across India’s point of view at the meeting, Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchira Kamboj called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and violence in Ukraine. She said it is in the collective interest to work constructively, both inside the United Nations and outside, towards seeking an early resolution to the war.

“India continues to advocate for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to violence. We encourage talks between Ukraine and Russia. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself, more than once, spoken to them, in this regard,” she said.

Ukraine celebrated its Independence Day on Wednesday, which also marked exactly six months since the start of Russia’s military offensive against the country on February 24.

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