Russia on Friday vetoed a US-backed UN Security Council resolution “deploring” Russia for its “illegal” referendums held in four Ukrainian regions.
While 10 of the 15 Council members, including the UAE, voted in favour of the text, China, India, Gabon and Brazil abstained.
The “no” vote from Russia, one of five permanent members of the Security Council that have veto power, killed the measure.
The US and Albanian-sponsored resolution was put forward in response to the ballot measures, widely criticised by the West, that set the stage for Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex four regions in eastern Ukraine on Friday.
The US ambassador to the UN Linda, Thomas-Greenfield, told council members the resolution would now head to the 193-member General Assembly.
“We will take further steps in the General Assembly to send an unmistakable message to Moscow that the world is still on the side of defending sovereignty and protecting territorial integrity,” she said.
The resolution notes that Ukraine did not authorise the so-called referendums in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and demands the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine.
The resolution also reaffirms UN commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence within its internationally recognised borders.
Many changes were made to the draft to accommodate other council members, UN director at the International Crisis Group Richard Gowan told The National.
“The US has watered down its draft, for example, by removing a reference to Russia's occupation of Crimea, so that China and India will abstain rather than oppose it,” he said.
“Western diplomats have been planning for this scenario for months as they always knew Russia was likely to play the annexation card.”