India has abstained on a draft resolution tabled in the UN Security Council which condemned Russia's "illegal referenda" and annexation of four Ukrainian territories and called for an immediate cessation of violence while underlining the need to find pathways for a return to the negotiating table.
The UN Security Council rejected the draft resolution condemning Russia's annexation of four Ukraine regions. The resolution, tabled by the US and Albania on Wednesday called the referendum 'illegal' adding that it was held in "regions within Ukraine's internationally recognised borders."
Russia had organized the referendum over the weekend in four territories it occupies -- Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya. Following what it called an overwhelming vote to join the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin signed the accession treaty on Friday.
China, India, Gabon and Brazil Abstain
In the 15-member UN Security Council, the resolution was vetoed by Russia, while China, Gabon, India and Brazil abstained, in apparent support for the Russian stance. Ten other members of the Council voted in support of the resolution.
"Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment. The path to #peace requires us to keep all channels of diplomacy open.." the Indian delegation at the UN said.
China, which ostensibly supported ally Russia, however, said a prolonged and expanded crisis in Ukraine must be averted.
"The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be safeguarded ... China calls on all parties concerned to exercise restraint, refrain from actions that actually exacerbate tensions and leave space for a solution through diplomatic negotiations," said China's ambassador, Zhang Jun.
Brazil said the language of the draft resolution does not favor an environment conducive to the solution of the conflict. It said the UN Security Council should explore new paths to solve the crisis. However, Brazil also said it was unreasonable to assume that people caught up in a conflict would be able to freely express their will.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said the annexation of a State's territory by another State resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the Principles of the UN Charter and international law "Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned," Guterres added.
However, Russia reaffirmed its pledge not to keep dialogue open in the case of the occupied Ukraine regions joining the Russian Federation.
The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said at the Council that the regions that are joining Russia chose to be part of the country. "There will be no turning back as today's draft resolution would try to impose," Nebenzia said.