World remains united behind Ukraine, 1 year later

People attend a vigil at Trafalgar Square in London organized by the Ukrainian and U.S embassies ahead of the one-year mark of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. (© Kin Cheung/AP)

On the eve of the first year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for ”comprehensive peace” in Ukraine and demanding the Russian Federation withdraw its military forces.

“Today’s vote was really historic. You saw one year after Russia’s illegal, unprovoked, full-scale invasion into Ukraine where the countries of the world stand. We showed where we stand — with Ukraine,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. representative to the United Nations, said February 23 after the vote.

Monitors showing result of vote: 141 in favor, 7 against, 32 abstaining (Bebeto Matthews/AP)
Monitors show results of a U.N. General Assembly vote February 23 on a resolution upholding Ukraine’s territorial integrity and calling for an end of Russia’s aggression. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

The U.S. was among 141 countries that voted in favor of the resolution, while only six countries joined Russia in opposing the resolution. Thirty-two countries abstained.

“Ukraine’s indomitable will has rallied the world to its cause, with people of conscience around the globe united behind Ukraine, and with repeated calls from the halls of the UN for Russia to end its war of choice,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a February 24 statement released before he appeared at the U.N. later that day.

The U.N.’s action was similar to a March 2, 2022, vote when an overwhelming majority of nations denounced the war in Ukraine and called on Vladimir Putin to end it. A year later, the vote shows the world understands that adhering to the principles of the U.N. charter is critical to a just and lasting peace.

Secretary Blinken returned to the U.N. Security Council February 24, where he outlined the council’s unique responsibilities to uphold the U.N. charter as Putin’s war enters its second year.

Russia’s full-scale invasion has forced more than 13 million people from their communities in Ukraine and destroyed thousands of homes, schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

“For peace to be just, it must uphold the principles at the heart of the U.N. Charter: sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence,” the secretary said. “For peace to be durable, it must ensure Russia can’t rest, rearm and relaunch its war in a few months or a few years.”