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Ukraine: Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador exhibit their alliance with Russia at the UN | International

Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya speaks during the emergency session of the General Assembly on February 28, 2022.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya speaks during the emergency session of the General Assembly on February 28, 2022.John Minchillo (AP)

The UN Extraordinary General Assembly voted on Wednesday a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He added 141 votes in favor, five against (Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, Syria and Russia itself) and 35 abstentions. China stands out in this last group, as well as four Latin American countries: Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador and Nicaragua. A fifth, Venezuela, an unconditional ally of Moscow, has its vote disqualified due to debts with the organization. The positive votes of Argentina and Brazil were relevant, two countries that had played the card of neutrality and finally opted for repudiation.

The resolution of the General Assembly requires Moscow to stop “immediately” the military offensive on Ukraine. It was the UN’s response to the Russian veto in the UN Security Council to a condemnation of the invasion. Russia is, together with the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China, one of the five countries with the right to veto in that body. Western countries circumvented the Kremlin’s blockade with an urgent call to the General Assembly, where each country has one vote and there are no special powers. The open discussion scenario highlighted the arguments of the pro-Russian Latin American bloc.

The most enthusiastic was Venezuela. Nicolás Maduro revealed on Tuesday that he called Vladimir Putin to “ratify Venezuela’s condemnation of NATO’s destabilizing actions.” “Maduro expressed his strong support for Russia’s decisive actions,” the Kremlin later said in a statement. Venezuela could not vote this Wednesday at the UN because it accumulates a millionaire debt with the organization, but it left its opinion. “The UN cannot be used to deepen conflicts,” said Ambassador Samuel Moncada. Yes, the representatives of other Russian allies, such as Cuba, were present with voice and also with vote.

Its ambassador to the UN, Pedro Pedroso Cuesta, said that in order to “rigorously and honestly examine” the situation in Ukraine, it is necessary to assess what he considered the “dedication” of the United States to advance under the NATO umbrella on Russian borders. He also mentioned the “delivery of modern weapons” to Kiev. The Cuban reading coincides with the Russian one: the invasion is a response to a previous aggression by the West, which did not listen to the Kremlin’s cries for security. At his turn, the Nicaraguan Jaime Hermida Castillo spoke of “military siege.” Bolivia justified his abstention with an allegation of sharing responsibilities. According to Ambassador Diego Pary, there was part of the blame “in the Western powers that, through NATO, put the security and peace of other States at risk.” “Using intermediary states that favor the expansionist ambitions of these Western powers and threaten the security of their neighbors,” said Pary, where Ukraine is the “intermediary” state and Russia the threatened neighbor.

The vote did not just put black on white among those who are on the Russian side. It also revealed the turn of Brazil and Argentina, which until now had played the card of neutrality. The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, visited Putin on February 24 and at the start of the week he had warned that his country had not yet decided on his vote. Finally, the Itamaraty Palace opted for supporting the resolution, as did Argentina. Alberto Fernández had also visited Moscow in the days before the invasion and from there had offered the Kremlin to be “the gateway to Latin America.” This Wednesday, however, the Argentine ambassador to the UN, María del Carmen Squeff, warned in her speech that “no territorial acquisition can be recognized as legal based on the use or threat of use of force.”

Mexico, meanwhile, charged against Russia’s right to veto as a member of the Security Council. “Mexico once again demands that the permanent members of the Security Council refrain from using the veto in situations in which they are directly involved or in situations of mass atrocities,” as Russia has done, said the Mexican ambassador to the UN. , Juan Ramon de la Fuente.

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