The General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted a resolution demanding that Russia be held accountable for breaking international law by invading Ukraine. The recommended repercussions included restitution for the war's destruction and casualties.
Monday's resolution was supported by 94 of the assembly's 193 members. It stated that Russia, which invaded its neighbor in February, "shall shoulder the legal consequences of all of its internationally unlawful conduct, including making reparation for the harm, including any damage, caused by such acts."
Fourteen countries, including Russia, China, and Iran, voted against the resolution, while 73 countries, including Brazil, India, and South Africa, abstained. Not every member nation voted.
It was the lowest amount of support of the five resolutions adopted by the General Assembly concerning Ukraine since Russia's invasion on February 24.
The resolution acknowledges the importance of establishing "an international framework for compensation of damage, loss, or harm."
It urges that the assembly's member nations, in collaboration with Ukraine, establish "an international register" to document claims and information on damage, loss, or injury inflicted by Russia on Ukrainians and the Ukrainian government.
The resolution followed Russia's retreat after months of occupation from the city of Kherson. Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the city in the southeast and accused Russian soldiers of committing war crimes throughout the region.
A UN committee of inquiry announced at the end of September that it had uncovered a variety of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, including sexual and gender-based acts of violence committed by certain Russian forces.
Since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion, Russia's veto authority in the 15-member Security Council has prevented the United Nations' most potent body from taking action. However, the General Assembly, which earlier adopted four resolutions condemning Russia's invasion, has no veto power.
"Sense of justice"
Al Jazeera's correspondent at the United Nations, Kristen Saloomey, reported that Russia had argued that the Security Council, not the General Assembly, should make these choices while accusing western nations of double standards.
"Western nations never considered reparations as a means of atoning for their own faults," said Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's UN envoy.
As he urged countries to vote against it, he stated that the resolution's provisions are "legally null and void."
"The West intends to utilize Russian funds to prolong and escalate the conflict," Nebenzia stated.
Sergiy Kyslytsya, the ambassador of Ukraine to the United Nations, stated before the vote, "Russia chooses impunity to accountability, and when it comes to the Security Council process, it only understands two things: falsehoods and veto."
According to him, Russia has attacked everything from factories to homes and hospitals in Ukraine.
Kyslytsya stated, "Ukraine will face the enormous challenge of reconstructing the country and recovering from this war, but this rehabilitation will never be complete without a sense of justice for the victims of the Russian war." It is time for Russia to be held accountable.
General Assembly resolutions, in contrast to Security Council decisions, are not legally obligatory, but they do reflect global opinion and have shown overwhelming opposition to Russia's military intervention.
"A wide international effort will be required to support Ukraine's recovery and reconstruction in order to build a secure and prosperous future for the Ukrainian people," British Ambassador to the United Nations Barbara Woodward told the assembly.
"However, only one country, Russia, is accountable for the harm to Ukraine, and as this resolution states, it is only fair that Russia pay for this damage."