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Russia vetoes UN resolution on Crimea's future



UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution declaring Sunday's referendum on the future of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula illegal, and close ally China abstained, underlining Moscow's international isolation.

Supporters of the U.S.-sponsored resolution knew Russia would use its veto. But they put the resolution to a vote Saturday morning to show the strength of opposition to Moscow's takeover of Crimea in the U.N. Security Council and got China to abstain rather than join Russia in casting a veto, which it did on three Western-backed resolutions on Syria.

The final vote on Saturday was 13 members in favor, China's abstention, and Russia as a permanent council member using its veto.

"The resounding message from today's vote is that Russia stands isolated in this council and in the international community," Britain's U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told the council after the vote.

"Russia alone backs this referendum. Russia alone is prepared to violate international law, disregard the U.N. Charter and tear up its bilateral treaties," he said. "This message will be heard well beyond the walls of this chamber."

Crimea, which hosts Russia's Black Sea Fleet base, became the hotbed of tensions in Ukraine after its pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled last month following protracted anti-government protests and outbursts of violence. Russia refuses to recognize Ukraine's new government, which it says came to power in an "illegal coup d'etat" and has now effectively taken control over Crimea in what has turned into Europe's greatest geopolitical crisis since the end of the Cold War.

The West says a referendum on whether to split off Crimea and make it part of Russia is illegal, violates Ukraine's constitution, and will not be recognized - and it is threatening costly sanctions against Russia if it moves to incorporate Crimea.

The resolution would have reaffirmed the Security Council's commitment to Ukraine's "sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity." It would have declared that the referendum on whether Crimea should become part of Russia "can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea."

The vetoed resolution also urged all parties to immediately pursue a peaceful resolution to the dispute over Crimea through direct political talks - something Russia refuses to do.

Before the vote, Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council it was no secret that he would veto the resolution.

"We cannot go along with its assumption - that is declaring illegal the March 16 planned referendum," he said.

Churkin said the people in Crimea have a right to self-determination under the U.N. Charter and confirmed "that we will respect the will of the Crimean people during the March 16 referendum."

"We do not dispute the principle of the territorial integrity of states," he said. "It is, of course, very important. It is also understandable that enjoyment of the right of self-determination as to separation from an existing state is an extraordinary measure, applied when future coexistence within a single state becomes impossible."

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power accused Russia of violating the U.N. Charter's key principles that prohibit the use of force to acquire territory and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations - principles she said Moscow agrees with "and defends all around the world, except, it seems, in circumstances that involve Russia."

"Russia has rejected a resolution that had peace at its heart and law flowing through its veins," she said.

"Under the U.N. Charter, the Russian Federation has the power to veto a Security Council resolution, but it does not have the power to veto the truth," Power said. "Russia - isolated, alone and wrong - blocked the resolution's passage, just as it has blocked Ukrainian ships and international observers" from entering Crimea.

China is traditionally very sensitive to the issue of territorial integrity because of Tibet and other restive areas.

China's U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi reiterated Beijing's support for "the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states."

He called for a political solution and an "international cordinating mechanism" to resolve the dispute.

The council meeting was the seventh on Ukraine in just over two weeks, but the U.N.'s most powerful body has been unable to take any action because of Russia's veto power.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
RockNHula March 16 2014 at 5:29 PM

Victor was a plebiscite of Moscow--no wonder they chased him out. All of his decsions were not made in favor of the Ukranian People, but for Russia. Think the Russian FSS (Federal Security Service) isn't heavily involved in this? Maybe there is no connection between this and the hijacking of the Malaysian airplane? Too bad, we don't have a stronger president who could call up Vladmir and tell him if he doesn't knock of his sh*t, better take out his false teeth, because here we come with the big nuclear d*ck. General Patton was right!

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aristars March 16 2014 at 8:34 AM

[...a vote Saturday morning to show the strength of opposition to Moscow's takeover of Crimea in the U.N. Security Council...]
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This is not take over. it's taking back what Russia gave to Ukraine in 1954; what all this unity in idiocy is all about? why all have been ignoring the fact that an elected president was removed? was that constitutional? Egypt has been punished severly for doing the same! a blatant double standard!!!

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1 reply
oldebtgoodie aristars March 16 2014 at 8:47 AM

Wrong learn your history. Russia gave Crimea/Ukraine autonomy for Ukraine's nuclear weapons BIG MISTAKE. Now it takes it back because Ukrainians wanted to side with Europe in the EU and much of Russian's oil and gas lines go through Ukraine. Shows what Putin is for real. I don't like what you want so futz you Im going to take back Crimea and NEXT will be Ukraine where the major pipelines are. Crimea is home to Russia's only warm water port so got to have that.

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fredschmidtke March 15 2014 at 11:50 PM

What can the US Do? We can not run this World Alone.

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1 reply
crarob fredschmidtke March 16 2014 at 12:02 AM

Uh, LEAD!

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oldebtgoodie March 16 2014 at 8:35 AM

Russia's ambassador isn't going to futz with Putin if he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life in Siberia making ice cubes. Putin don't play Reminds me of Stalin.

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Pllc15 March 15 2014 at 11:46 PM

The only time when the UN SC was able to move to stop aggression with boots on the ground was the Korea War only because the Soviets made the mistake of boycotting the session to vote against N. Korea's aggression against the South. That was a mistake because the vote was unanimous without the Soviet veto.

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buckeye3118 March 15 2014 at 4:56 PM

It says a lot when the 'Useless Nothing' can take more action than PopStar MESSiah. Apparently they haven't yet discovered golf.

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pdepechemode March 16 2014 at 12:44 AM

I want world peace. I hope these countries will be at peace within 4 years when my favorite band Depeche Mode tour there again. Depeche Mode has alot of fans in these countries.

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1 reply
Richard pdepechemode March 16 2014 at 1:39 AM

It's just
A Question of Time Enjoy the Silence

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bba007 March 15 2014 at 8:11 PM

I think there a lot of Chinese speaking people and Mongolian speaking people that are the majority in Russia's eastern sectors. I think China and Mongolia need to help those people out by annexing them and the territory they occupy. Tit for tat.

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Ol Bob March 15 2014 at 4:52 PM

The cold war was only paused. Putin hit the resume button.

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1 reply
leoganz Ol Bob March 15 2014 at 9:43 PM

USA 682 billion spent on the military
Russia...90 billion
Russian has a double wide trailer compared to our mansion.

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Kat4Hat March 15 2014 at 11:08 PM

I wish no more blood will shed in Ukraine, all the parties will make their choices and live with them. I wish our ukranian' friends good luck when they join the E.U., hopefully their dreams come true. I wish the people of in Crimea get back to their montherland if this is what the majority of them make this decision at the referendum and, with the help of Russia, rebuild their economy. The international observers reported the peace there, so hopefully no crazy minds will disturb them in this historical moment. Russian people will honor Crimea no matter what the people of Crimea choose; Crimea will always be a historical Russian place and the place of the HERO CITY of Sevastopol, that bet German Nazy and liberated the European continent in the 19th century for the best. Good night and good luck to everybody!

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1 reply
bellmotor Kat4Hat March 15 2014 at 11:29 PM

Churkin said the people in Crimea have a right to self-determination under the U.N. Charter and confirmed "that we will respect the will of the Crimean people during the March 16 referendum."
"We do not dispute the principle of the territorial integrity of states," he said. "It is, of course, very important. It is also understandable that enjoyment of the right of self-determination as to separation from an existing state is an extraordinary measure, applied when future coexistence within a single state becomes impossible."

Hello?? the initial protest was against the former Ukraine government and not Crimea uprising and fighting to seperate from Ukraine. and there was not even threaths against Crimea people but the dictator Putin ordered the invasion of Crimea based on request of ousted former President of Ukraine and there is huge difference here politically between uprising and a supper power invading another part a country that has a treaty with and Crimea people did not even request for interference and help them gain independent.

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1 reply
bole63 bellmotor March 16 2014 at 1:39 AM

Of course Crimean people did not " request for interference and help them gain independent" because - as we can see - they have enought power to do it by themselfs ...Crimea is going back to " Mother Russia" as it was until 1954. when president Nikita gave it to Ukraine! Nikita was from Ukraine ...

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