Europe

UN General Assembly: Russia should pay reparations to Ukraine

The UN General Assembly has declared that Russia must pay reparations for the consequences of its aggressive war in Ukraine.

In addition, Kyiv should document damage.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Serhiy Kyslytsia began his speech to the UN General Assembly by quoting: “Large areas of our country were occupied by the enemy, who destroyed whole towns and villages and turned them into ruins. Factories, power plants, railways. That’s why we believe that it is a moral right of countries subjected to occupation to receive compensation.”

A demand not from a Ukrainian official, but a quote from former Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, in light of his country’s devastation in World War II.

“It is striking how he describes exactly what Ukraine is facing today,” Kyslytsia said. “A large part of a sovereign state under enemy occupation. Entire towns and villages annihilated. Factories reduced to ruins. Power plants destroyed.”

“Time to hold Russia accountable”

Since the first day of the war, Russia has been bombing factories, houses, schools, hospitals and kindergartens, as well as roads, bridges, railway lines and the power grid. Kyslizja referred to reports of murder, rape, torture, deportation and looting in the occupied territories.

“Ukraine will face the daunting task of rebuilding the country and recovering from the war. But without a sense of justice for the victims of the Russian war, that will never be accomplished. It is time to hold Russia accountable .”

The UN General Assembly has now taken a first step in this direction. With 94 votes in favour, she adopted a resolution calling on Ukraine to work with other states to document war damage and to secure relevant evidence.

Ukraine should keep damage register

Such a so-called damage register should be the basis for subsequent reparations payments from Russia to Ukraine. A procedure that the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebensja, dismissed as illegal: “The error of this initiative is obvious. Legally, the provisions of the draft do not stand up to criticism. They are legally null and void. They are an attempt to legalize something that cannot be legalized under current international law.”

However, only 13 other countries shared this assessment of Russia in the vote – including China, Iran and Cuba. 73 countries abstained. The resolution received the required two-thirds majority.

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