UN General Assembly calls on Russia to ‘immediately, completely and unconditionally’ troops from Ukraine

Most of the world’s nations have voted in favour of a United Nations resolution demanding that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally” withdraw its military forces from Ukraine, in a powerful rebuke of Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour.

The resolution was adopted on Wednesday at a rare emergency session of the UN General Assembly.

It was supported by 141 of the UN’s 193 members.

China, India and South Africa were among the 35 countries that abstained, while just five – Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus and of course Russia – voted against it.

The resolution “deplores” Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine” and condemns President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put his nuclear forces on alert.

While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they carry political weight, with Wednesday’s vote representing a symbolic victory for Ukraine and increasing Moscow’s international isolation.

Even Russia’s traditional ally Serbia voted against it.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the General Assembly’s message was “loud and clear”.

“End hostilities in Ukraine – now. Silence the guns – now,” he said in a statement. “As bad as the situation is for the people in Ukraine right now, it threatens to get much, much worse. The ticking clock is a time bomb.”

Ukraine’s UN envoy, Sergiy Kyslytsya, called the resolution “one of the building blocks to build a wall to stop” the Russian offensive, and urged countries to support the text.

“They [Russia] have come to deprive Ukraine of the very right to exist,” Kyslytsya told the Assembly ahead of the vote. “It’s already clear that the goal of Russia is not an occupation only. It is genocide.”