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WAR IN EUROPE

UN General Assembly calls for Russia to make reparations in Ukraine

A screen shows results of voting on 12 October 2022 by members of the United Nations General Assembly on a resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of regions of Ukraine. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Justin Lane)

The United Nations General Assembly on Monday called for Russia to be held accountable for its conduct in Ukraine, voting to approve a resolution recognising that Russia must be responsible for making reparations to the country.

The resolution, supported by 94 of the UN General Assembly’s 193 members, said Russia, which invaded its neighbour in February, “must bear the legal consequences of all of its internationally wrongful acts, including making reparation for the injury, including any damage, caused by such acts”.

The resolution recommends that member states, in cooperation with Ukraine, create a international register to record evidence and claims against Russia.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, but they carry political weight.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya told the General Assembly before the vote that Russia has targeted everything from factories to residential buildings and hospitals.

“Ukraine will have the daunting task of rebuilding the country and recovering from this war, but that recovery will never be complete without a sense of justice for the victims of the Russian war. It is time to hold Russia accountable,” Kyslytsya said.

Russia’s UN Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the General Assembly before the vote that the provisions of the resolution are “legally null and void” as he urged countries to vote against it.

“The West is trying to draw out and worsen the conflict, and plans to use Russian money for it,” Nebenzia said.

Fourteen countries voted against the resolution on Monday, including Russia, China and Iran, while 73 abstained, including Brazil, India and South Africa. Not all member states voted.

In March, 141 members of the General Assembly voted to denounce Russia’s invasion, and 143 in October voted to condemn Moscow’s attempted annexation of parts of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday said Russian forces destroyed critical infrastructure in the strategic southern city of Kherson before fleeing.

Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilians, although the invasion has reduced Ukrainian cities to rubble and killed or wounded thousands.

“It will take a broad international effort to support Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction in order to build a safe and prosperous future for the Ukrainian people,” Britain’s UN Ambassador, Barbara Woodward, told the assembly.

“But only one country, Russia, is responsible for the damage to Ukraine, and it is absolutely right, as this resolution sets out, that Russia pay for that damage.”

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis.)

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