17 African countries abstain from UN vote to condemn Russia invasion

Ukrainian servicemen get ready to repel an attack in Ukraine’s Lugansk region on February 24, 2022. PHOTO | ANATOLII STEPANOV | AFP

Seventeen African countries on Wednesday abstained from voting as the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, signalling further international pressure on Moscow.

The UN General Assembly, which was this week sitting under an emergency session, a rare sitting occasioned only by a serious threat to international security, voted to condemn what a motion said was “aggression against Ukraine” following Russia’s February 24 invasion of its neighbour.

The vote, which is mostly politically symbolic but lacks legal strength, means the UN has declared Moscow’s decision a violation of the UN Charter, especially on issues of territorial integrity.

Voted by 141 of the 193 member states of the UN, the vote became only a first in 40 years when the General Assembly has sat and passed a resolution to reprimand a member’s aggression.

Kenya, Ghana, Gabon, Rwanda, Djibouti, Congo, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo voted yes.

Some 35 countries abstained from the vote, including Russia and China, and African states – Burundi, Senegal, South Sudan, South Africa, Uganda, Mali and Mozambique.

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