The UN Security Council on Wednesday rejected a Russian-drafted resolution on humanitarian access in Ukraine, which western diplomats said they did not support because it failed to name Russia as the aggressor in the deepening conflict.
Only Russia and China voted for the resolution while the council’s remaining 13 members abstained, leaving Moscow once again largely isolated on the world stage over its month-long invasion of Ukraine.
Washington’s UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the US could not support a document that failed to call out the Kremlin for orchestrating an invasion that has forced millions to flee their homes.
“Russia does not care about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions or the millions of lives and dreams the war has shattered,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said in the New York chamber before the vote.
“If they cared, they would stop fighting.”
To pass, a draft Security Council resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes from any of the body’s five permanent members — the US, Britain, France, China and Russia.
Russia proposed the text after France and Mexico withdrew their own push for a Security Council document on Ukraine's humanitarian situation.
Moscow postponed a planned vote on Friday, saying western nations had led a “pressure” campaign against it.
The UN General Assembly has meanwhile been debating its own draft resolutions, one pushed by Ukraine and its allies that is based on the French-Mexican proposal. The 193-nation body is expected to vote on the document on Thursday.
The text, which is non-binding but carries political weight, “demands an immediate cessation of the hostilities by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, in particular of any attacks against civilians and civilian objects".
Earlier this month, 141 assembly members voted for a draft resolution deploring Russian aggression in Ukraine and calling on Moscow to withdraw its forces. Russia and four others voted against the text while 35 other nations abstained.
South Africa has also advanced a rival draft text in the General Assembly on the same issue that does not mention Russia.
Russia has faced widespread international censure and stinging sanctions over the invasion, but has doubled down on a war it says is necessary to halt a further expansion of the Nato military alliance along its western border.