NEW YORK: India on Monday voted to reject Russia's call to hold a secret ballot at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on a draft resolution to condemn Moscow's "attempted illegal annexation" of four regions in Ukraine.
A public vote will be held now be held later this week in UNGA on Russia after its referendum in Ukrainian territories.
The UN General Assembly meeting began with a procedural vote on a measure which Russia had flagged, proposing that the Ukrainian draft resolution being debated, be voted on by secret ballot, not through a public vote.
Albania requested an open vote after Russia proposed a secret ballot on the resolution on Ukraine. India voted in favour of a procedural vote called by Albania.
A resolution condemning Russia's annexation of four Ukrainian regions was up for adoption at the UNGA, where the 193 UN members vote and no one wields a veto.
The Albanian proposal received 107 votes in favour, with 13 countries opposed to the vote and 39 abstentions. Twenty-four countries including China, Iran and Russia did not vote.
Albanian diplomat while dismissing the proposal said that "conducting secret ballot will undermine the practices of assembly."
Ukraine and Russia clashed in the UNGA on Monday ahead of the vote.
Speaking first at the emergency meeting, Ukraine's envoy Sergiy Kyslytsya told members states that he had already lost family members to Russian aggression. He said that around 84 missiles and around two dozen drones had deliberately targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure during Monday's multiple attacks on Ukrainian cities, including schools and universities.
"The entire world has once again, seen the true face of the terrorist State that kills our people. Suffering defeats on the battlefield, Russia takes it out on the peaceful residents of Ukrainian cities," he said.
The Ukrainian envoy said that voting for the draft resolution would be "for each country, for each of our citizens, for your families, for our children - a vote for justice".
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The resolution on the Russian annexation comes days after Moscow vetoed a similar proposal in the UN Security Council. The draft resolution condemns Russia's "attempted illegal annexations" of the four Ukrainian regions following "so-called referendums".
Russia's ambassador Vassily Nebenzya said that the Albanian resolution, which confirmed that a recorded vote would take place following the debate, had been a violation of the rules of procedure.
He said Russia had been deprived of the ability to present its case and all aspects of the Ukraine crisis that did not suit Western powers, had been conveniently overlooked.
"Ukraine was chosen by these countries for that purpose, was brought under their control and today is a platform for the testing of NATO weaponry and for combat against Russia, using other people," he said.
He accused Ukraine of an act of terrorism in "sabotaging" Russia's bridge to Crimea, adding that Russia could not stand by and let Ukraine act "with impunity". This vote comes after Russia conducted that large-scale strikes on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and other locations on Monday, which drew condemnation from several countries.
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UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was deeply shocked and represented "another unacceptable escalation" of the war.
The strikes which have reportedly caused widespread damage to civilian areas and led to dozens of deaths and injuries showed that "as always", civilians were paying the highest price for Russia's invasion of February 24, the statement released by the UN Spokesperson added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday warned of "harsh" reprisals after the Crimea bridge attack on Saturday. In a television appearance, Putin said Russia had struck military and infrastructure targets across Ukraine following the Crimea bridge blast.
He threatened further "harsh" responses that correspond "to the level of threat to the Russian Federation, have no doubt about it," while accusing Kyiv of "terrorism."