Bangladesh defends latest UN resolution vote against Russia

This is the second time Bangladesh has voted against Russia in a UN resolution since the start of the Ukraine invasion on February 24

Bangladesh on Wednesday voted in favour of a UN resolution that condemned Russia's "illegal" annexation of four Ukrainian regions last month, at the 11th emergency special session of the UNGA on the Russia-Ukraine war.

This is the second time Bangladesh voted against Russia in a UN resolution since the Ukraine invasion on February 24.

The General Assembly approved the resolution, titled "Territorial Integrity of Ukraine: Defending the Principles of the UN Charter", with 143 in favour and five against. 

However, 35 nations abstained from voting including China, India, South Africa and Pakistan despite a major US diplomatic effort to seek clearer condemnation of Moscow.

Only four countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution - Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. 

Explaining the move to condemn Russia, Muhammad Abdul Muhith, permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN, said: “What UN Charter says about keeping the geographical integrity and sovereignty of any country intact must always be followed without exception and this is what Bangladesh firmly believes.

"Bangladesh is very concerned about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine."

Muhith said that war, sanctions, and counter-sanctions are not good for any country.

"Bangladesh believes that the best way to resolve any conflict is through dialogue and diplomacy," he added. 

Md Shahidul Haque, former foreign secretary, told Bangla Tribune that Bangladesh believes in the fundamental principles of the UN Charter which gives the right to sovereignty, territorial integrity,  and non-interference.

"We have voted in favor of the resolution because it is consistent with our basic principles. If there were any kind of violation of that policy, we would protest against it,” he said. 

Bangladesh, Shahidul said, usually abstains from voting on any country-specific resolutions. 

“But Bangladesh has taken a different stand in this regard,” he concluded.

Bangladesh also called on the international community should to stand firm against any attempt by Israel to annex occupied Palestinian territory. 

This is the third resolution against Russia in New York since the Russia-Ukraine war started last February. Besides, a resolution was brought to Geneva to suspend Russia's membership in the Human Rights Council.

Among the four resolutions, Bangladesh voted in favor of the second one on humanitarian assistance but abstained from voting on the first resolution in Geneva. 

The last resolution was proposed at the UN on October 7 after Moscow held a referendum on the annexation of four Ukrainian regions into Russia. More than 50 countries co-sponsored the resolution. Negotiations began on October 10, and when Russia proposed that the resolution be voted on by secret ballot at the beginning of the negotiations, 107 votes were cast against it and the proposal was rejected.

Fully supporting Ukraine's geographical integrity, the resolution condemns Russia for holding the referendum in very strong language. At the same time, the referendum was declared illegal. In addition, all countries, organizations and specialized agencies of the United Nations have been called not to recognize the occupied areas of Ukraine.

Demanding that Russia cancel all its decisions and withdraw its military from Ukraine, the resolution said, "Those decisions are contrary to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Russia and inconsistent with the UN Charter."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Twitter he was "grateful to 143 states that supported historic #UNGA resolution ...(Russia's) attempt at annexation is worthless."

Hasina wants the war ended

The head of the Bangladesh government has been renewing her call to end the war at the earliest.

While delivering her speech at the 77th session of the UNGA on September 23, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina demanded an immediate end to the Ukraine-Russia war and resulting sanctions for the sake of the lives and livelihoods of the people across the world. 

“We want the end of the Russia-Ukraine war. Due to sanctions and counter-sanctions, not a single country, rather the entire mankind including women and children is punished,” she said. 

While in the UK on September 13, the premier underscored the need for a negotiated settlement of the conflict to protect common people around the world from food, energy and financial insecurities.

She suggested reviewing whether the sanctions imposed in the wake of the war were having otherwise implications for people in developing countries.