Russia is actively seeking to undermine the authority of the United Nations, and Britain is “completely right” to challenge attempts to force a secret ballot on a motion to condemn Vladimir Putin for his annexation of four regions of Ukraine, Tory MP Tobias Ellwood has said. Britain’s ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward today rejected Russia’s bid, and requested that the 193-member body vote publicly.
Mr Ellwood, who is the chairman of Parliament’s Defence Committee as well as the MP for Bournemouth East, told Express.co.uk: “Britain is absolutely right to criticise Russia’s call for a secret vote at the UN.
“Russia now joins China in seeking to erode the authority of the United Nations as custodians in upholding international standards and values.
“Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine should be publicly called out by the global community.
Moscow has moved to annex four partially occupied regions in Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – after staging what it called referendums.
Ukraine and allies have denounced the votes as illegal and coercive.
The General Assembly is set to vote on a draft resolution that would condemn Russia’s “illegal so-called referenda” and the “attempted illegal annexation”.
It also reaffirms the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine and calls on states not to recognise Russia’s move.
In a letter to UN states earlier this week, Russia’s U.N.
Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called for a secret ballot, arguing that Western lobbying meant that “it may be very difficult if positions are expressed publicly”.
But Ms Barbara Woodward said that the rules of the General Assembly were clear that any representative may request a recorded vote.
She wrote in a letter to the General Assembly president:
“To conduct a secret ballot on a General Assembly decision would go against decades of precedent and undermine the practices of the world’s most representative deliberative body.
(More to follow)
The General Assembly is due to vote on the draft resolution on Tuesday or Wednesday, say diplomats.
Russia vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member Security Council last week. It has been trying to chip away at its international isolation after nearly three-quarters of the General Assembly reprimanded Moscow and demanded it withdraw its troops within a week of its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
The moves at the United Nations mirror what happened in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea. At the Security Council Russia vetoed a draft resolution that opposed a referendum on the status of Crimea and urged countries not to recognise it.
The General Assembly then adopted a resolution declaring the referendum invalid with 100 votes in favor, 11 against and 58 formal abstentions, while two dozen countries didn’t take part.