Following the rare and historic emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by virtue of the ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution, another historic UNGA vote had commenced on Wednesday with 141 out of 193 nations voting in favor of a United Nations resolution that “deplores” (no longer “condemns”) the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The resolution also demands that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally” withdraw all its troops and military forces from Ukraine.

With a vote of 141 nations in favor of the resolution entitled “Aggression against Ukraine,” the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly supported Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, “deploring” the Russian invasion of Ukraine “in the strongest terms.” Despite being supported by most nations in the entire world, the resolution, which demanded that all Russian forces withdraw from Ukraine, was also met with 5 against and 35 abstentions.

Russia found itself with few friends during the vote with North Korea, Eritrea. Belarus and, Syria voting against the measure.  Some rather significant abstentions were cast by India, China, Iraq and South Africa. While China’s abstentions clearly reflect their close ideological ties to Russia the others are reflective of Russia providing vast amounts of military equipment to these countries and the fear that a vote against them will result in those shipments being cut off.  In the case of India, it receives 23% of total Russian arms shipments between 2016 and 2019. These arms include tanks, planes, helicopters, missiles, radars, ships, and, a submarine.  In addition to the shipment of arms, there are vast quantities of spare parts as well. Without Russia, India’s planes will not fly, its tanks cannot be repaired and its ships will be stuck in port. These abstentions illustrate the control that Russia is able to exert as the world’s largest supplier of arms to other countries.