UN General Assembly to meet on Ukraine crisis

The United Nations General Assembly will hold a plenary session today on the situation in Ukraine’s occupied eastern territories. The

UN General Assembly to meet on Ukraine crisis Photo: Timothy A. Clary/Getty

The United Nations General Assembly will hold a plenary session today on the situation in Ukraine’s occupied eastern territories.

The plenary session will bring together representatives from all member states of the United Nations, regardless of committee. It comes just one day after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced his intention to recognize the pro-Russian separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk—the regions of Ukraine under discussion in the session—as independent countries and moved troops there.

Discussion of this move will dominate the session. Expect Russia and Belarus to use this stage to push for broader international recognition of the breakaway provinces. Their efforts are unlikely to be successful: the presence of Russian troops in those provinces indicates that any actual ‘independence’ on their part is total fiction.

China will be the country to watch this session, as its alliance with Russia is strained by its strong commitment to absolute national sovereignty in this case. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared yesterday that the “principles of the UN Charter should be upheld” in Ukraine. Though China is unlikely to explicitly condemn Russian recognition, a conspicuous silence from them today would allow the General Assembly to place diplomatic pressure on Russia.

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