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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.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
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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deniseforhire March 15 2014 at 7:32 PM

When Gorbacev and REagan were still in office and The soviet Union was taken out of existence, I saw a large influx of Russian immigrants into my neighborhood, being settled here by organizations sponsoring them to come here. They love the freedom but seem to also - even still - want back the dictatorial culture they grew up knowing and living in. It's inconsistent. Still diehard Russian Patriots, those of them living in my neighborhood will always take the side of Russia, politically, no matter what they do. Then again, they're not living within it anymore.

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1 reply
garyranderson deniseforhire March 15 2014 at 7:55 PM

You can take the boy out of dictatorship, but you can't take the dictator culture out of the boy!

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ajgivan March 15 2014 at 7:43 PM

This is yet again a showing of a major weakness in the U.N. as well as other groups. One member should not have the right to veto, it's against all logic to allow the perptuater of an action found wrong by all others should be able to use a veto. The U.N. is and has always been weak in giving rights that should be stopped. If a vote was against an action by a member country then that country should be excluded from the voting process, it's like letting a person charged with agrivated murder have a vote on the jury.

What a joke.......................

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HELLO SHELDON March 16 2014 at 1:00 PM

das vee daan ya putin

Flag Reply +1 rate up
verticalwalker March 15 2014 at 7:46 PM

As always, when I read these stories, I wonder what genius decided that one member in the council can veto a resolution. Nonsensical and it needs to be changed in the UN charter as it makes the whole process worthless.

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flyingfortresb17 March 15 2014 at 7:48 PM

Of course the Russians would veto this action. It is like the president having a bill passed by the house and barely by the senate he did not like. Veto the bill and make the senate have to pass the vote with a majority of 60+/.......China abstained because they knew they would have future problems if they didn't.

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Tom March 15 2014 at 4:21 PM

The UN is a big sinkhole for money from the West.

For years dominated by third world "wanna be" counties from Africa and Aisa. If they paid all their parking tickets that would generate enough money to run the whole operation.

The big countries (USA, China, Russia, etc) use it as a platform to act like they give a d***, but they are just taking politcal correctness to new lows.

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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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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...]
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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Bill March 15 2014 at 4:19 PM

The United Nations is a joke. Didn't they also condemn Syria's civil war!

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