Feb 23, 2023 - World

UN General Assembly demands Russia withdraw from Ukraine

Dmytro Kuleba speaks during the Eleventh Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on Ukraine

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during a special session of the General Assembly on Feb. 22. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

The UN General Assembly on Thursday approved a resolution calling for Russia to "immediately, completely and unconditionally" withdraw its forces from Ukraine.

Why it matters: The resolution is non-binding, but it carries symbolic weight by signifying Russia's continued isolation on the world stage ahead of Friday's one-year anniversary of the start of the war.

The big picture: 141 countries voted to approve the measure while seven, including Belarus, Nicaragua and Syria, voted against it. Abstaining were 32 countries.

  • The resolution also called for an immediate ceasefire and underscored the need to establish accountability for war crimes.
  • Additionally, it highlighted "the need to reach, as soon as possible, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace" in line with the principles of the UN charter.

What they're saying: “Ukraine is effectively defending itself against a much stronger enemy and I appeal to you: this is a decisive moment to show support, unity, and solidarity," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said during a General Assembly special session on Wednesday.

  • Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, slammed the resolution earlier this week as "unbalanced and anti-Russian," Reuters reported.
  • Last March, 141 countries voted to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine and demand its withdrawal.

Editor's note: This story is developing and will be updated.

Go deeper