UN rejects Russia's request for secret vote on Ukraine referendum
The UN General Assembly has voted to reject Russia's request for a secret ballot vote on whether to condemn Russia for its "attempted illegal annexation" of four Ukrainian territories. Russia originally asked for the resolution's vote to be secret in hopes that it would garner more support through anonymity, reports The Associated Press.
The General Assembly decided with 107 votes that the ballot will be public. They will vote on the resolution on either Wednesday or Thursday, Reuters reports. Only 13 countries opposed a public vote while 39 others abstained; the remaining countries, including China and Russia, did not vote. India voted in favor of a public vote, a surprising outcome as it had abstained from voting on the draft of the resolution condemning Russia's actions just last month.
The resolution would call for Russia to completely reverse its actions and withdraw from the region.
In a letter to the UN, Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia wrote that "it may be very difficult if positions are expressed publicly," due to Western lobbying. Nebenzia argued that making the vote public is "yet one more step towards division and escalation."
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergey Kyslytsya said that "Russia has proven once again that it is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways."