The UN General Assembly met this morning in a special session to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. On the table was a resolution that affirms the “political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.” In other words, the resolution rejects Russia’s annexation of Crimea and is a show of support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.
It passed 100 to 11 with 58 abstentions.
This vote carries no legal weight. But it is a proxy for the degree to which Russia has become isolated internationally over its annexation of Crimea. Those who voted for the resolution formally reject Russia’s claim to Crimea. Countries that voted against the resolution are probably willing to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
The lopsided results of this resolution are not terribly surprising. One of the founding principles of the United Nations is that territorial integrity should be inviolable; powerful countries can’t just claim the territory of their neighbors through military force. It stands to reason that more countries around the world would be threatened by the precedent set by Russia’s actions in Crimea than supportive of it. Indeed, in a somewhat unusual move, small states like Costa Rica and Iceland took to the floor to voice their support for Ukraine.
The results today show that the vast majority of countries in the world are rejecting Russia’s claims to Crimea. But with 58 abstentions, the vote was not as lopsided as it could have been. It would seem that a significant number of countries view this as a spat between Russia and the West and they simply do not want to pick a side.
Here’s a blurry screenshot of the vote breakdown. I’ll post a more clear tally when it becomes available.