Andrew L. Urban
It cannot be any clearer: 141 countries of the world have condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as illegitimate in a vote at the UN General Assembly. And all 141 countries have done nothing to stop Russia continuing to break international law. But hey, Putin got a good finger wagging… Addressing the UN membership, Secretary-General António Guterres stated that “the fighting in Ukraine must stop.” Naughty boy, Putin!
He continued: “I must say, President Putin: In the name of humanity bring your troops back to Russia. In the name of humanity do not allow to start in Europe what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century, with consequences not only devastating for Ukraine, not only tragic for the Russian Federation, but with an impact we cannot even foresee in relation to the consequences for the global economy in a moment when we are emerging from the COVID [pandemic] and so many developing countries absolutely need to have space for the recovery which would be very, very difficult, with the high prices of oil, with the end of exports of wheat from Ukraine, and with the rising interest rates caused by instability in international markets. This conflict must stop – now. Thank you very much.”
The UN resolution was passed at a special meeting of the General Assembly called because of a lack of unanimity of the permanent members, so that the UN’s Security Council fails to: “….exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.”
Unlike a Security Council resolution, a General Assembly resolution does not have the potential to become legally binding. As the UN puts it, they’re “considered to be recommendations. But it does have strong symbolic value and reflects international opinion.”
Tough talking UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the resolution sent a message “loud and clear” to Russia. “End hostilities in Ukraine now. Silence the guns now,” he said. “Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy now.
“The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine must be respected in line with the UN Charter. We don’t have a moment to lose.” That was many, many lost moments ago…
Incapable of passing a resolution to actually do something to halt Russia’s invasion by force in the Security Council where Russia and China have veto rights (gee, what a good idea that was), the UN is as useful here as that proverbial ashtray on a motorbike.
NATO allies rejected Ukraine’s request to set up and enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying that it would lead to a larger, more devastating conflict across Europe. “We are not part of this conflict, and we have a responsibility to ensure it does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference on Friday in Brussels, echoing statements made by White House officials several days ago about a no-fly zone.
The refusal to enforce a no-fly zone is based on what is no more than a technicality.
The notion that enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would prompt Putin to respond even more aggressively is driven by an illogical fear and badly flawed. The Russian invasion force is acting illegally in a sovereign state; Ukraine is a democracy which is asking, begging, for military assistance to defend itself against a more powerful aggressor. If that assistance endangers the respondents, what hope for any peace at the hands of Putin?
The major powers – the US, UK, Germany, France – joined by other willing nations, should be able to form a ‘pop up’ United Nations-like force that diffuses the target among themselves and does what the UN should be doing. Under the operational command of a tested military leader, that ‘international peace force’ would patrol the no-fly zone and perhaps extend its operations to assisting the Ukrainian ground forces.
Russia must not be allowed to so easily (relative term) murder foreign civilians in a war of its own making. Huffing and puffing is what Putin expected from the West; shooting and blasting is what he should be getting.
Note to Xi Jinping: be warned, if you attack Taiwan in a similar fashion, you will get a severe finger wagging.
Peter Versi writes:
Adolf Putin or Vlad the Impaler. …Call him what you want. He is a mass murderer. . Russia must leave Ukraine. The US and NATO should put Putin on notice that they are going to liberate the country and give Russian troops 7 days to get back behind their own borders. No air strikes or bombardment from either side. If each of the 30 NATO members deploy 10,000 troops to enter Ukraine as peace keepers, a force of 300,000 plus their deadly equipment will protect the people who are now under a threat of extinction.
NATO and US have no interest in crossing Russian borders , but only in seeing the Russians and Belarusians back behind their own. Let Russia judge Putin’s war. Once Russia is out , then Ukraine will declare Neutrality. If this does not happen , Putin will be emboldened to stomp on other people. No one wins a nuclear exchange !!! Putin leans on a threat which would destroy his country and many others, if not ALL others. Does that veiled threat allow him free reign to murder women and children?
There will be no “peace in our time “ until ground rules are given to Putin and the world demands they be met !