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Putin celebrates along with the four Moscow-appointed heads of the new annexed regions. Mikhail Metzel via PA
War in Ukraine

Russia vetoes UN bid against Ukraine annexations as China abstains

Referendums held in the four regions were labelled as a ‘sham’ by the west.

LAST UPDATE | 30 Sep 2022

RUSSIA HAS TODAY vetoed a Western bid at the UN Security Council to condemn its annexations of Ukrainian territory, with China and India abstaining.

Russia’s veto was a certainty but Western powers will be heartened that Moscow did not find support from Beijing and will now seek to pressure Russia through a vote of the General Assembly, which includes all countries.

The United States pushed through a resolution co-sponsored with Ukraine hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would take over areas of Ukraine seized in the invasion following Kremlin-organized referendums.

“This is exactly what the Security Council was made to do. Defend sovereignty, protect territorial integrity, promote peace and security,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said at the start of the meeting.

“The United Nations was built on an idea that never again would one country be allowed to take another’s territory by force,” she said.

Russia’s ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, complained that it was unprecedented to seek condemnation of a permanent member of the Security Council.

“Do you seriously expect Russia to consider and support such a draft? And if not, then it turns out that you are intentionally pushing us to use the right of the veto in order to then wax lyrical about the fact that Russia abuses this right,” Nebenzia said.

The resolution would have condemned the “illegal” referendums held in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine and call on all states not to recognize any changes to Ukraine’s borders.

It also would have called on Russia to withdraw troops immediately from Ukraine, ending an invasion launched on February 24.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier Friday said that the United States would seek a vote at the General Assembly.

“If Russia blocks the Security Council from carrying out its responsibilities, we’ll ask the UN General Assembly, where every country has a vote, to make clear that it’s unacceptable to redraw borders by force,” Blinken told reporters in Washington.

“Every country has a stake in condemning these steps,” he said.

Earlier, the US sanctioned more than 1,000 people and firms connected to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after Vladimir Putin signed treaties absorbing occupied regions of Ukraine into Russia, in defiance of international law.

Those sanctioned included Russia’s Central Bank governor and families of Security Council members.

The Treasury Department named hundreds of members of Russia’s legislature, leaders of the country’s financial and military infrastructure and suppliers for sanctions designations.

The Commerce Department added 57 companies to its list of export control violators, and the State Department added more than 900 people to its visa restriction list.

President Joe Biden said of the Russian leader’s steps: “Make no mistake: These actions have no legitimacy.”

He said the new financial penalties will impose costs on people and companies inside and outside Russia “that provide political or economic support to illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory”.

“I look forward to signing legislation from Congress that will provide an additional 12 billion dollars to support Ukraine,” he added.

The US and the EU are stepping up the intensity of sanctions after Moscow announced it was mobilising up to 300,000 more troops to join the invasion of Ukraine and Mr Putin ratified the results of Kremlin-orchestrated annexation “referendums” that Kyiv and the West called sham elections.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called an “urgent” meeting of his national security council for today and says his country is submitting an “accelerated” application to join the Nato military alliance.

Volodymyr Zelensky said: “We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to Nato.”

It comes after Russian President Vladamir Putin has signed treaties to annex four Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions – Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – at a grand ceremony in the Kremlin.

He then joined hands with the Moscow-installed heads of the regions controlled by Russian forces on a stage in front of the Russian elite and chanted alongside them “Russia! Russia!”.

“I want to say this to the Kyiv regime and its masters in the West: People living in the Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia (regions) are becoming our citizens forever,” Putin said during his speech, adding that they had made a “unambiguous choice” to join Russia.

russia-ukraine People watch the ceremony on a large screen in Crimea. AP / PA Images AP / PA Images / PA Images

“We will defend our lands with every means possible, with every means necessary,” Putin said. 

The Russian president added: We call on the Kyiv regime to immediatly stop fighting and stop all hostilities … and return to the negotiating table.”

The Kremlin’s atomic threats have not deterred a sweeping Ukrainian counter-offensive, which has been pushing back Russian troops in the east.

Kyiv’s forces are on the doorstep of the Donetsk region town of Lyman, which Moscow’s forces pummelled for weeks before capturing it this summer.

Putin has blamed the war in Ukraine on the West and said simmering conflicts in the former Soviet Union were the result of its collapse.

The rhetoric built on his now famous phrase that the fall of the USSR was a tragedy, and he has recently suggested Moscow should again extend its influence over the former Soviet region.

The four regions’ Kremlin-installed leaders who pleaded to Putin for annexation this week assembled in the Russian capital ahead of the ceremony.

Their almost simultaneous requests came after they claimed residents had unanimously backed the move in hastily organised referendums that were dismissed by Kyiv and the West as illegal, fraudulent and void.

20% of Ukraine

Ukraine said the only appropriate response from the West was to hit Russia with more sanctions and to supply Ukrainian forces with more weapons to keep reclaiming territory.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the annexation plans as “a dangerous escalation” that “has no place in the modern world”.

The four territories – Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south and Donetsk and Luhansk in the east – create a crucial land corridor between Russia and the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Together, all five make up around 20% of Ukraine, whose forces in recent weeks have been clawing back ground.

Ukrainian troops have been progressing in the eastern Kharkiv region and recapturing territory in Donetsk. Military observers say Kyiv’s forces are close to capturing Lyman.

Moscow’s forces are striking back along the entire front line and officials in Kyiv said Thursday that Russian bombardment had killed three people in the Dnipropetrovsk region, five in Donetsk and wounded seven in the Kharkiv region.

Along with threats to use nuclear weapons, Putin announced a mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of Russians to bolster Moscow’s army in Ukraine, sparking demonstrations and an exodus of men abroad.

Yesterday, he called for mistakes with the draft to be “corrected”, as discontent grows over the often-chaotic conscription push.


It was also reported today that a Russian strike on a humanitarian convoy in the city of Zaporizhzhia has killed at least 25 people and injured another 50.

Zaporizhzhia regional governor Oleksandr Starukh said Russian forces targeted the convoy heading to Russian-occupied territory.

He posted images of burned out vehicles and bodies lying in the road.

Russian officials did not immediately acknowledge the strike.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said four of 16 S-300 missiles that Russia launched struck a car market as well as an area where civilians had gathered leaving to pick up relatives.

Includes reporting by © AFP 2022 and Press Association

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