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U.N. resolution calls on Russia to withdraw from Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine entered its second year on Friday with no end in sight, the U.N. overwhelmingly adopted a resolution calling on Russia to withdraw its forces from the country.

There were 141 votes in favor and 32 abstentions. Six countries joined Russia to vote no – Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua and Syria. Russia’s ally China abstained on the U.N. vote.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the vote.

“This resolution is a powerful signal of unflagging global support for Ukraine,” he wrote in a post on Twitter.

This resolution is a powerful signal of unflagging global support for 🇺🇦. A powerful testament to the solidarity of 🌎 community with 🇺🇦 people in the context of the anniversary of RF’s full-scale aggression. A powerful manifestation of global support for 🇺🇦 #PeaceFormula! 2/2

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 23, 2023
“For Russia, this war is about its imperial desires and ambitions. For Ukraine, it is about defending its inalienable right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. For all of us gathered here, this war is about the most fundamental U.N. principles,” Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said in his speech.

“Let us reaffirm the very significance and our commitment to them. Let us not render them irrelevant. It is simply our duty to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in line with the UN Charter,” he emphasized.

The Ukraine military reported increased Russian activity in the east and south as the war approached one year mark, with at least 25 towns and villages in three northern regions along the Russian border under fire.

Ukraine had success with counter-offensives in late 2022 to grab back much of the territory it had lost. Russia now controls around a fifth of Ukraine.

Worldwide support
As fighting raged on in Ukraine’s east and south, its allies around the world showed their support on the day marking one year since Russia’s invasion started.

Paris lit up the Eiffel Tower in the Ukrainian flag colors of blue and yellow and people draped in Ukrainian flags, with hands on their hearts, gathered at a vigil in London holding a banner: “If you stand for freedom, stand for Ukraine”.

VIDEO: Paris' Eiffel Tower glows in the colours of Ukraine to mark one year since Russia invaded.

A year ago to the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin stunned the world by sending troops into Ukraine, beginning the largest conflict in Europe since World War II

— AFP News Agency (@AFP) February 24, 2023
“There will be a life after this war, because Ukraine will win,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a speech.

Trench warfare
The ongoing war has settled into attritional trench warfare, with rising losses on both sides, particularly this year in fighting in and around the eastern town of Bakhmut.

Some U.S. and Western officials estimate Russia’s casualties at nearly 200,000 dead and wounded, while in November the top U.S. general said more than 100,000 troops on each side had been killed or wounded.

From 24.02.2022 to 24.02.2023 (Day 366), estimated losses #Russia suffered in #Ukraine.

+970 Personnel
+13 Tanks
+7 APVs
+11 Artillery
+3 Anti-aircraft Systems
+1 Special Equipment#RussianLosses

— Mina Hanse – @[email protected] (@hanse_mina) February 24, 2023
It is impossible to independently verify casualties in what has become the worst conflict in Europe since WWII. Millions of Ukrainians have fled their country and tens of thousands of civilians have been killed. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of war crimes.

The war has damaged the world economy and a Cold War chill has set into international relations, with Putin raising the specter of nuclear weapons and signaling a desire to double down on the conflict, despite major battlefield defeats.

With Zelenskyy insisting on Moscow’s withdrawal, the prospects of peace appear bleak.

“We don’t know when the war will end. But what we do know is that when the war ends, we need to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters on Thursday, adding that the Alliance has to “prevent Russia from chipping away at European security.”

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