UN urges Russia to end 'temporary occupation' of Crimea

UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly on Monday (Dec 7) adopted a resolution urging Russia to end its “temporary occupation” of Crimea, which Moscow took over in 2014, “without delay”.

The resolution on the militarisation of the peninsula of Crimea, the port of Sevastopol and parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov was adopted by 63 countries, with 17 voting against and 62 abstaining.

The resolution is non-binding but has political significance. It was put forward by 40 countries, including Britain, France, Germany and the Baltic states, as well the United States, Australia, Canada and Turkey.

The resolution “urges the Russian Federation, as the occupying Power, immediately, completely and unconditionally to withdraw its military forces from Crimea and end its temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine without delay.”

Facing the “continuing destabilisation of Crimea owing to transfers by the Russian Federation of advanced weapon systems, including nuclear-capable aircraft and missiles, weapons, ammunition and military personnel to the territory of Ukraine,” the resolution called on Russia to stop all such transfers “without delay.”

Fighting between Ukrainian troops and forces backed by Russia has left more than 13,000 dead since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and pro-Russian forces in the east of Ukraine rebelled against Kiev.

At the UN Security Council, tensions between Russia and western countries over the conflict remain in sharp focus, as was shown by an informal meeting last week by Moscow on the 2015 Minsk accords between Ukraine and Russia, which were sponsored by France and Germany.

Berlin and Paris sparked Russian fury by boycotting the meeting, described by European countries as an international platform offered to the Donbass separatists, several of whom had been invited to speak by Moscow.

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