Photo Credit: Marcello Casal JR / Agência Brasil / Wikimedia
Meeting on the eve of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 24, 2007

The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Wednesday in a rare emergency session to approve a resolution that condemns “in the strongest terms” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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“It reflects the international community’s grave concerns about the ongoing situation in Ukraine and reiterates the call for an immediate ceasefire, unhindered access for humanitarian support, and return to dialogue and diplomacy,” the current president of the UNGA, Abdulla Shahid told reporters following the vote.

The resolution, ES-11/N1, states Russia’s military operations are “on a scale that the international community has not seen in Europe in decades, and that urgent action is needed to save this generation from the scourge of war.”

Although it was legally non-binding, the resolution won wide support and was approved by 141 members of the 193-member body, with 35 abstaining (among them China, Iraq, Iran, India and Pakistan). Five nations opposed the resolution: Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria.

As the results were announced, UN delegates rose to their feet in a rare standing ovation.

The resolution demands that Russia immediately stop its war in Ukraine and withdraw all its troops from Ukrainian territory, “urges the immediate peaceful resolution of the conflict” and reaffirms the assembly’s commitment “to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”

Shaid told reporters that he “joins member states” in expressing concern about reports of attacks on civilian facilities “such as residences, schools, and hospitals,” and of civilian casualties, “including women, older persons, persons with disabilities, and children.”

The General Assembly president also said he shared concerns about “the deteriorating humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine with an increasing number of internally displaced persons and refugees in need of humanitarian assistance” and said that he “welcomed” the $1.7 billion appeal launched Tuesday for Ukraine, and called on the international community to support it.

As requested by member states in the resolution, Shahid said that he “looks forward to receiving in 30 days the report of the emergency relief coordinator on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, and on the humanitarian response.”

He added that in line with the resolution that was adopted, the emergency special session was “temporarily” adjourned but emphasized that he stands “ready to resume the session” upon the request of member states.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.