The UN General Assembly ( UNGA) on Thursday adopted a resolution, affirming its commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity and urging all parties to strive for peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis "through direct political dialogue."
The resolution, co-sponsored by countries such as Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Lithuania and Ukraine, received 100 votes in favor, 11 votes against and 58 abstentions. The General Assembly resolution is not legally binding.
The General Assembly "reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, " the resolution said.
The resolution "urges all parties to pursue immediately the peaceful resolution of the situation with respect to Ukraine through direct political dialogue, to exercise restraint, to refrain from unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric that may increase tensions, and to engage fully with international mediation efforts."
The General Assembly "calls upon all States to desist and refrain from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including any attempts to modify Ukraine's borders through the threat or use of force or other unlawful means," the resolution said.
The General Assembly underscores that the March 16 referendum held in Crimea "having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the city of Sevastopol."
The resolution "calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the city of Sevastopol" and "to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status."
In the referendum, Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia last week, which is not recognized by major Western powers.
Azerbaijan, Benin, Bulgaria, Chile, Greece, Iceland, Libya, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States are among the countries that voted in favor of the draft resolution, while Armenia, Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Russia, Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe voted against.
Angola, Argentina, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Paraguay, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Uzebekistan and Zambia are among the nations that abstained from the voting at the 193-member General Assembly.
The General Assembly resolution, which does not mention Russia by name, is similar in essence to a draft resolution of the UN Security Council, which was vetoed by Russia, a permanent member of the 15-nation UN body. Veto power does not apply in the General Assembly.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly welcomes "the continued efforts by the secretary-general and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other international and regional organizations to support de-escalation of the situation with respect to Ukraine," the resolution said.
"In the context of the ongoing diplomatic mediation efforts by the parties concerned, an attempt to push ahead with the UNGA vote on the draft resolution on the question of Ukraine will only further complicate the situation," Liu Jieyi, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, said at the General Assembly before the vote.
"We believe that the actions taken by the United Nations on the question of Ukraine should reflect the consensus by all parties and should be conducive to the relaxation of tension and to the achievement of a political settlement of the crisis," he said.
"The question of Ukraine involves the interests and concerns of various parties," Liu said. "There should be a balanced approach to address the question. All parties should exercise restraint and refrain from exacerbating the situation and continue the efforts to iron out their differences through political and diplomatic means and to solve the question of Ukraine within the framework of law and order."