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UN votes to reject Russian annexation of Crimea

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-27

The UN General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution on Thursday declaring Crimea's referendum on independence illegitimate and refusing to recognise Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

The vote came as the International Monetary Fund said it had reached a deal on $18 billion in loans to Ukraine to prevent the country from defaulting.

The non-binding UN resolution passed with 100 votes in favour and 11 votes against in the 193-member body. More than 20 countries abstained from voting.

The measure reiterates that a March 16 referendum in Crimea has "no validity" and asks countries not to recognise any alteration of the status of the Black Sea peninsula.

Ukraine, which drafted the resolution, had urged the international community to back the measure, hoping an overwhelming show of UN support would ward off further Russian intervention on its territory.

"I am convinced that a strong vote today will help to deter further aggressive moves," acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya told the assembly.

"It sends an essential message that the international community will not allow what has happened in Crimea to set a precedent to further challenges to our rules," he added.

Western diplomats wanted a strong majority vote to press home what they say is Russia's isolation.

The resolution garnered more support than a similar text passed in 2009 over the Georgia crisis.

Ukraine submitted the draft resolution, which makes no direct reference to Russia.

Thursday's measure calls on all states to refrain from any attempt to modify Ukraine's borders through the threat or use of force or other unlawful means, and calls for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

US Ambassador Samantha Power told the assembly it was "disheartening in the extreme to see Russia carry on as if Ukrainians have no legitimate interest in Crimea".

"Ukraine is justified in seeking our votes in reaffirming and protecting its borders," Power said.

"We urge you to vote yes on a resolution that enshrines the centrality of territorial integrity and that calls for a diplomatic, not a military, solution to this crisis," she said.

Russia stuck to its position, saying it had no right to refuse support to Crimeans in their right to self-determination.

"For several centuries," Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the assembly, Crimea was "an integral part of our country".

"Only an arbitrary decision by the USSR to transfer it to Ukraine upset this natural sate of affairs," he said.

The 11 countries that voted against the text were Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

NATO and Western powers voted overwhelmingly in favour. Among the abstentions were Afghanistan, China, India and Pakistan, as well many South American nations.

Israel and Iran were also among those nations that abstained from the vote.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-03-27

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