ATHENS – Already supporting European Union sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis applauded the United Nations for a resolution joining the condemnation although it has no power beyond political.
In the first emergency meeting of the General Assemby since 1982, the vote against Russia was 141-5, with 35 countries – including China – abstaining but even Russian allies like Serbia joining in denouncing what has become known as Putin’s War, for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Greece’s pullback from close ties with Russia showed a pattern of the EU, which normally has tepid or symbolic responses even against near-dictatorial moves, risking Putin’s anger, the bloc relying of Russian oil and gas, including Greece.
“The UN has spoken clearly and loudly in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This historic vote is not only an expression of international solidarity, but a direct demand that Russia immediately and completely withdraws its troops. We stand with Ukraine,” Mitsotakis tweeted.
Russia was joined by Belarus, which has served as a launch pad for Russian invasion forces, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria in voting against the resolution, said Reuters.
“As 141 member states of the United Nations know, more is at stake even than the conflict in Ukraine itself. This is a threat to the security of Europe and the entire rules-based order,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters after the vote.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the assembly that Russia was ready to rachet up its offensive in the face of stiff Ukrainian resistance and said that could include use of cluster munitions and vaccum bombs that are banned under international law.
“This is an extraordinary moment,” she said. “Now, at more than any other point in recent history, the United Nations is being challenged,” she said, ut there’s been no attempt to remove Russian from the Security Council where it can veto any votes against Putin for his actions.