Nigeria condemns Russia, 17 African countries abstain from UN vote


Nigeria among other 140 nations  voted in support of a resolution that condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday.

The assembly, in the resolution, also demanded the immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine.

The resolution came as Russian troops pounded Ukrainian cities with air strikes and bombardments.

Thirty-five members including China and India abstained while five countries – Russia, Syria, Belarus, Eritrea and North Korea – voted against the resolution.

Alongside Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Gabon, Rwanda, Djibouti, Congo, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo voted yes.

But 17 African states opted not to vote including Burundi, Senegal, South Sudan, South Africa, Uganda, Mali and Mozambique.

Before the vote, United States Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told participants that Russian forces appeared poised to step up their assault.

“We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield,” she said.

“That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs which are banned under the Geneva Convention.

“We have seen the 40-mile-long lethal convoy charging toward Kyiv. President Putin continues to escalate – putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, threatening to invade Finland and Sweden.”

She added that at every step of the way, Russia has betrayed the United Nations, stressing that Russia’s actions go against everything the UN stands for.

Nigeria had indicated on Monday that it would comply if the UN imposes sanctions against Russia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama said Nigeria would “act and engage within the framework of the United Nations”.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Russia said it is targeting Ukrainian military installations, including air bases, but civilians numbering hundreds, including women and children, have reportedly been killed by Russian air raids.

Putin’s actions have received worldwide criticisms and economic sanctions from the US and European Union (EU).

In peace talks with Ukraine on Monday, Putin canvassed Western recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over the Crimea as a condition for ending the war.

The UN has expressed concerns about the humanitarian crisis the war is going to cause in Europe as more than one million people have so far fled Ukraine

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