Ukraine invasion: SA gov defends decision to abstain from UN vote

Despite not voting to condemn Russia for its endless attacks on Ukraine, the South African government says it remains deeply concerned by the situation unfolding in the country, as the Kremlin shows no signs of ending its offensive.

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to adopt a resolution to reprimand Russia for its invasion in Ukraine on Wednesday, 2 March 2022. Out of the 193 member states which voted, 141 were in favour of the resolution – and South Africa wasn’t one of them. A total of 35 countries choice to abstain, including China, which is an ally of Russia. While five – Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus and Russia (of course).

In a statement issued via DIRCO, the South African government says both Ukraine and Russia need to uphold international, humanitarian and human rights law – as well as the principles of the UN Charter, including sovereignty and territorial integrity.


The South African government seems to take issue with the UN vote, saying the resolution should have welcomed the commencement of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, in ending the current situation.

Leaders from both parties met at Ukraine’s border with Belarus, but have so far failed to reach a consensus. Further defending its controversial decision, South Africa says the resolution it considered does not create an environment conducive for diplomacy, dialogue and mediation.

 “While we agree with, and support, the efforts taken by member states to bring to the attention of the international community the situation in Ukraine, SA feels that greater attention should have been paid to bringing the sides closer to dialogue”

“For SA, the text in its current form could drive a deeper wedge between the parties rather than contributing to a resolution of the conflict. The resolution should have welcomed the commencement of negotiations between the parties”


There seem to be conflicting accounts as to the number of people killed in the attacks – Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said more than 2 000 civilians lost their lives, while the UN puts that figure at about 500.

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