US, Europe Whip UN Votes for Historic Russia Rebuke

The United States and its international allies are whipping up votes in the UN this week in the quest for a historic resolution slamming Russia’s territorial claims in Ukraine.

U.S., European and other allied officials are using spreadsheets, phone calls, WhatsApp messages, face-to-face chats, and the occasional public comment to convince countries to vote against Russia in the U.N. General Assembly. Their efforts are targeting as many countries as possible in order to garner as much potential support. 

Csaba Kőrösi, president of the U.N. General Assembly, has convened an emergency special session of the body to begin debate at the beginning of next week on Monday. A vote is expected later next week.

From ambassadors to assistant secretaries, to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the campaign involves nearly every level of the U.S diplomatic infrastructure. Even members of Congress might make some calls.

Russia has expectedly rejected the efforts. Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, wrote to his fellow ambassadors this week calling the draft resolution a “sham.” He labeled the effort as a “clearly politicized and provocative development” and urged U.N. members to vote against the resolution.

If the resolution passes, it would boost Western efforts to isolate Russian leader Vladimir Putin, undermine his argument that he is a liberator and, ideally, convince him that escalating the war will invite only more global backlash.

Nearly the entire U.N. membership of 188 countries has been invited by the European Union to discuss the draft resolution. 

Only a handful of countries were not invited due to their opposition to Ukraine’s territorial integrity in previous U.N. resolutions. Syria, North Korea, Belarus and Eritrea are reportedly not invited. 

A draft version of the resolution demands that Russia pull its troops out of Ukraine. It says that “illegal so-called referenda” organized by the Kremlin to claim four territories as Russian “have no validity under international law and do not form the basis for any alteration of the status of these regions of Ukraine.”

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