Bangladesh abstains from UN resolution criticizing Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Russia's UN envoy accuses Western governments of pressuring assembly members to pass resolution, whose adoption he says could fuel further violence
Bangladesh on Wednesday abstained from voting on the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that reprimanded Russia for invading Ukraine and demanded Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces.
The resolution, supported by 141 of the assembly's 193 members, was passed in a rare emergency session called by the UN Security Council while Ukrainian forces battled to defend the port of Kherson in the face of air strikes and a devastating bombardment that forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee.
Other than Bangladesh 34 countries, including India, Pakistan and China, abstained from voting, while five countries voted against the resolution.
Russia was joined by Belarus, which has served as a launch pad for Russian invasion forces, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria in voting against the resolution.
The last time the Security Council convened an emergency session of the General Assembly was in 1982, according to the UN website.
The text of the resolution deplores Russia's "aggression against Ukraine”.
While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they carry political weight, with Wednesday's vote representing a symbolic victory for Ukraine and increasing Moscow's international isolation. Even Russia's traditional ally Serbia voted in favour of the resolution.
"As 141 member states of the United Nations know, more is at stake even than the conflict in Ukraine itself. This is a threat to the security of Europe and the entire rules-based order," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters after the vote.
Russia's UN envoy, Vassily Nebenzia, denied Moscow was targeting civilians and accused Western governments of pressuring assembly members to pass the resolution, whose adoption he said could fuel further violence.
He repeated Russia’s assertion its action was a special military operation aimed at ending purported attacks on civilians in the self-declared Moscow-backed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
"The evil will never stop. It requires more and more space," Ukraine's UN envoy, Sergiy Kyslytsa, said in urging passage of the resolution, calling it "one of the building blocks to build a wall to stop" the Russian offensive.
After nearly a week, Russia has yet to achieve its aim of overthrowing Ukraine's government.
It has faced an unprecedented international backlash, especially from the West, whose sanctions have crippled Russia's financial system while giant multinational countries have pulled investments out.
Washington has imposed several rounds of sanctions, including against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the central bank, since Russia's forces invaded Ukraine in the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two.
Moscow calls the assault a "special operation”.