“The Security Council will be convened to hear the Secretary-General who is returning from his overseas tour today, during which he visited Moscow and Kiev. We shall see what he will tell us about his impressions,” Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday, March 27.
The Security Council is to meet at 15:00 EST (23:00 Moscow time) behind closed doors. It will be its ninth meeting on Ukraine this month.
The U.N. has continued to press for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and other senior officials having visited the region, including Moscow and Crimea, over the past three weeks.
The U.N. Security Council convened seven sessions on the situation in Ukraine, and at its eighth meeting, Russia, one of the 15-nation body’s permanent members, blocked action by voting against a draft resolution that would have urged countries not to recognise the results of the referendum in Crimea.
Russia could not support the U.S. draft resolution on Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine) because it is at odds with the right of people to self-determination enshrined in Article 1 of the U.N. Charter, Churkin said.
“We cannot agree with its underlying message that the referendum slated for March 16, during which the residents of the Republic of Crimea should determine their own future, will have no legal force. This reasoning by the authors of the text runs counter to one of the basic principles of international law - the principle of equality and self-determination of people set out in Article 1 of the U.N. Charter,” Churkin said after the vote in the Security Council.
He noted that this principle was “reaffirmed in the U.N. Declaration on Principles of International Law of 1970 and several other decisions of the U.N. General Assembly, and in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.”
Russia vetoed the draft resolution. The draft proposed by the United States was supported by 13 member states attending the U.N. Security Council’s meeting on March 15, with one abstention - China.
The latest version of the resolution proposed by the United States said that Ukraine has not authorised a referendum on the status of Crimea and therefore it could not be considered lawful or serve as the basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. The document also urged all countries, international organisations and specialised agencies not to recognise the results of the plebiscite in Crimea.
Churkin recalled that “before 1954 Crimea was a part of Russia” and had been handed over to Ukraine “in violation of law and without taking into account the opinion of the people of Crimea.”
On March 27, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution against the secession referendum in Crimea, which was part of Ukraine but seceded from it and reunified with Russia last week. The resolution was adopted by a 100-11 vote with 58 abstentions.
The document urges countries not to recognise Crimea’s accession to Russia after the referendum held on March 16.
Unlike U.N. Security Council resolutions, those adopted by the U.N. General Assembly are not binding and are advisory in nature.
Churkin said the results of the vote showed that Russia was not in isolation in this situation. “This is a rather good result for us. We have won a moral and political victory. There can be no question of Russia’s isolation in this situation,” the diplomat said.
The resolution is “confrontational in nature”, Churkn said. “Russia’s attitude towards the proposed draft resolution is negative. It is confrontational in nature,” he said before the vote in the U.N. General Assembly.
He believes that the document “is trying to call into doubt the significance of the referendum in Crimea, which has already played its historic role”.
“Challenging it would be counterproductive,” Churkin noted.
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