April 15, 2024

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Two years of war in Ukraine: Dozens of countries call for Putin's resignation

Two years of war in Ukraine: Dozens of countries call for Putin's resignation

War in Ukraine

Updated on February 24, 2024 at 10:58 am

The Gaza war has taken up a lot of space in international diplomacy. This makes the demand from dozens of foreign ministers more important to Vladimir Putin on the Ukraine conflict.

More news on the war in Ukraine

Two years after Russia invaded Ukraine, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and dozens of countries have called on President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his forces. Meanwhile, Union Foreign Minister Annalena Berbach rejected calls for talks with Moscow. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba read a joint statement of more than 50 countries in New York on Friday (local time).

“We renew our call to Russia to stop its war of aggression against Ukraine,” Kuleba said. Russia must ensure the “complete, immediate and unconditional withdrawal” of all operational forces from internationally recognized Ukrainian territory. Two high-level meetings of the UN General Assembly and the World Security Council were held in New York on Friday to mark the anniversary. Beerbach has arrived

“It is time for a just peace based on the United Nations Charter, international law and General Assembly resolutions,” UN President Antonio Guterres told the Security Council. The 74-year-old Portuguese also warned of an escalation of conflict in Eastern Europe. The numerous war crimes, especially those committed by the Russian armed forces, must also be investigated and those responsible held accountable.

Baerbach: “The glass is half full”

In a speech to the UN's most powerful body, Baerbach, a German Green Party politician, said he was listening to calls for talks with Putin. But he made it clear that he did not want peace talks but to complete his “conquests”. “Russia, a permanent member of this House, wants to give up its right to exist as a sovereign state. Where will we be if this policy prevails,” Baerbach asked the room. In his speech, Kuleba pledged that Ukraine would never “accept an offer to surrender or give up our lands and freedoms under the guise of peace.”

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Foreign Minister Berbach previously asserted that Ukraine had fought back 50 percent of territory occupied by Russia and the Black Sea. Ukraine will soon become a member of the European Union. Not only is the country's support valuable, “but the glass is half full.”

Baerbach pointed to the recently signed bilateral German-Ukrainian defense agreement, which provides reliable and lasting support to Ukraine. “We stand by Ukraine,” the Union Foreign Minister assured. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron issued a similar statement: “We will not budge, we will stand firm for Ukraine's independence.”

His French counterpart Stéphane Séjourné condemned Russian war crimes such as massacres of civilians and rape, torture and abduction of Ukrainian children: “These crimes must go unpunished.” US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield reminded Moscow of its guilt: “In this war, only one party is the aggressor. Only one party can end it.”

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken did not travel to New York, and neither did his counterparts from China and Russia. Moscow representative Vasily Nebenzya used his speech to accuse Western governments of double standards and a secret agenda in Ukraine.

No new UN General Assembly resolution

Unlike last year, the General Assembly did not vote on the anti-Russia resolution. In February 2023, 141 of the 193 member states voted for a resolution calling on Russian President Putin to withdraw his forces – a historically clear result. There was no new sign of strength this year – partly because of fears of a vote back.

Diplomats in New York said the mood had changed since last year. It is, on the one hand, related to Israel's war in the Gaza Strip, which has attracted much attention. On the other hand, some Ukrainian countries oppose their voting behavior in the General Assembly regarding Gaza: in December, Kiev abstained when the largest UN body voted on a draft resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza. (Jörg Blank, Christian Fahrenbach and Benno Schwinghammer, dpa/tas)

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