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Ukraine: UNGA, Italy condemns Russia and Belarus, asks for immediate withdrawal

NEW YORK , FEBRUARY 28 – Italy was one of the first countries to speak during the opening of the Special Session of the General Assembly on Ukraine. The Russian aggression, which consists of “a blatant violation of international law and the UN Charter”, and the involvement of Belarus “as facilitator of the aggression” were condemned firmly and “in the strongest possible terms” by the Italian Permanent Representative, Ambassador Maurizio Massari, who called upon Moscow to immediately stop its military action and withdraw its forces from the sovereign territory of Ukraine.

The Assembly – emphasized the Italian Ambassador – is convened as a result of the impossibility for the Security Council to fulfil its own tasks and adopt a resolution because of the Russian Federation’s veto: “The General Assembly had an obligation to make its voice heard in front of such a grave threat to international peace and security”, said Massari.

Expressing Italy’s sincere solidarity with Ukraine and its people and recalling the victims, among which several civilians and children, the Permanent Representative announced that Italy, together with EU partners and following the support provided since 2014, is stepping up its financial and material support to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity and resilience, with approximately 110 million euro. “We are also determined to provide increased humanitarian support to assist the people of Ukraine in these dramatic circumstances”, said Massari while also welcoming the meeting (scheduled for the evening) of the Security Council on the humanitarian dimension of the crisis, and hoping that the discussions will lead to concrete results. “Italy will remain actively engaged, in close coordination with its European partners and allies, and reaching out to the broader Membership in favour of the immediate halt of this aggression and in support of the urgent return to a peaceful path”, concluded the Ambassador.

The GA Special Session is only the eight (and the first in over 40 years) convened under the umbrella of the Uniting for Peace resolution. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, appearing at the meeting, had called for an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and respect for the values of the UN Charter: “Wars have no winners”, Guterres said, pointing out that the Russian nuclear threat “is a chilling development”.

“The General Assembly is the collective consciousness of humanity, its strength is in its moral authority. I hope that the direct talks now taking place between Ukrainian and Russian delegations will produce not only an immediate halt to the fighting, but also a path towards a diplomatic solution”, the Secretary-General said. The UN – he added – is ready to support negotiations between Moscow and Kiev. Over 90 countries are registered to speak, and therefore it is unlikely that a vote will be taken today on the text of the resolution, of which Italy – along with other EU member states and 14 other UN trans-regional organisations’ members, 19 in total – was among the pen-holders. The text, recalling the one which had received 11 votes in favour, 3 abstentions and the Russian veto, used the verb “to deplore” instead of “to condemn”, as in the Security Council draft.

The objective of the document, which is not binding but characterised by a strong moral power, is to increase the number of the – already 81 – co-sponsors of the text which Russia vetoed in the Security Council, and thus arrive to a strong condemnation of Russian (and Belarusian) aggression by the wider membership, while appealing to dialogue and diplomacy. (@Onuitalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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