SA has abstained from a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia for its holding of referendums in four occupied Ukrainian provinces last month before annexing them to Russia.

Yesterday’s UN General Assembly vote means SA has abstained from every UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including one in April when Russia was suspended from the UN Human Rights Council.

The Daily Maverick reports that the resolution debated whether to condemn Russia’s ‘illegal so-called referendums’ in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia and its ‘attempted illegal annexation; of them was carried by the necessary two-thirds majority of UN members, with 143 votes for, 5 against, and 35 abstentions. 

SA’s ambassador to the UN, Mathu Joyini, said Pretoria considered the territorial integrity of Ukraine to be ‘sacrosanct’ and rejected any action of a state which violated the UN Charter.

However, she said some elements of the resolution did not contribute towards resolving the conflict.

She said SA called for a cessation of hostilities and urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to mediate in the conflict and the UN Security Council to play a constructive role in ending it. SA’s partners in the BRICS bloc voted in different ways.

China also abstained from the resolution, Brazil voted for it while India did not vote at all.

Twenty-seven African countries voted for it and none against, while 15 abstained and the rest did not vote.

Full Daily Maverick report