India joined the United States and 11 other nations to vote against Russia and allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to virtually address the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Wednesday.
Though India over the past few months always abstained at the UN Security Council on the issue of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and thus, tacitly extended support to the former Soviet Union nation, it broke out of the pattern on Wednesday.
Moscow’s envoy to the UN in New York, Vassily A Nebenzia, demanded a “procedural vote” to decide whether the Ukrainian President should be allowed to address a meeting of the Security Council. The meeting was being held to assess the situation in Ukraine six months after Russia launched its special military operations in the East European nation.
Russia, however, was left isolated in the ‘procedural vote’, as China abstained and India joined the remaining three permanent and nine non-permanent members of the UNSC to vote in favour of allowing the Ukrainian President to address the council.
India is currently a non-permanent member of the UNSC.
Nebenzia said that Russia was opposing Zelenskyy’s virtual participation at the UNSC because the council had already returned to holding meetings in normal in-person modes after the Covid-19 pandemic waned. Ferit Hoxha of Albania argued that Ukraine was at war and the President of the East European nation could not have left the country. He supported Zelenskyy’s participation in the UNSC meeting virtually.
The UNSC finally did allow, by a vote of 13 in favour to one against, Zelenskyy to address it through video-conferencing.
“It is on the territory of Ukraine that the world’s future will be decided,” he added. “Our independence is your security,” he told the UNSC, slamming Russia for military aggression against Ukraine.
India, however, played down its vote against Russia at the Security Council.
“My understanding is that we have not voted against anybody. It was a proposal to allow him to speak virtually and we supported it. I think it was the third occasion when he spoke virtually. There were two occasions in the past when he spoke virtually,” Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, told journalists in New Delhi.
India over the past few months drew flak from the US and the other western nations, not only for refusing to join them, both at the UNSC and outside, in strongly condemning Russia for its aggression against Ukraine, but also for continuing its trade with the former Soviet Union nation, circumventing sanctions imposed on it.
India also increased oil and coal imports from Russia.
“India continues to advocate for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to violence. We encourage talks between Ukraine and Russia. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself, more than once, spoken to them, in this regard,” New Delhi’s envoy to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj, said during the meeting at the UNSC.