The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution affirming Ukraine’s territorial integrity and calling the referendum that led to Russia’s annexation of its Crimean Peninsula illegal. This sent a strong message of strong international opposition to Russia regarding its military takeover of the Black Sea Region.
Of the 193 member States of the U.N., the vote on the referendum was 100 countries in favor, 11 opposed, 58 abstentions. The number of abstentions is very telling to how much power Russia has in the international community, how recognized Ukraine is, and ultimately how much global sympathy Ukraine has. On the other hand, Russia was only able to obtain 10 “no” votes. As such, the passage of the referendum is a fundamental sign of anger amongst the international realm about Russia’s military invasion.
The U.N. determined that Russia’s conduct was in fact a violation of the U.N. Charter and the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, even stressed that, “the international community has sent a strong message through the passing of their resolution that Russia cannot simply trample over international law.” The common feeling amongst “yes” voters in the U.N. was that Ukraine has just as much interests in Crimea as Russia and that Ukraine’s interests are just as legitimate.
Crimea has been at the center of Europe’s greatest geopolitical crisis since the end of the Cold War. Russian troops took over the Ukrainian peninsula, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based, and Moscow officially annexed Crimea following a referendum last week. The upheaval in Crimea is the fallout of months of anti-government protests and outbursts of violence that led to the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych, who fled last month.
The resolution adopted Thursday says the referendum on Crimea has “no validity” and calls on all countries and organizations not to recognize Russia’s annexation. It also calls on all parties to immediately pursue a peaceful resolution of the situation in Ukraine.