The vote has no legal effect, but does send Russia a strong signal that a majority of the international community does not accept its latest expropriation of land, or its continued aggression in Ukraine
It’s noteworthy that Wednesday’s resolution obtained the most support of the four motions put forth before the UNGA regarding Moscow’s invasion
of its neighbour.
The 143 votes is also much higher than the 100 garnered by a 2014 resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
But what about the abstentions? Should Western nations, which – led by US
Secretary of State Antony Blinken – had lobbied hard in favour of Wednesday’s vote, feel slighted that the likes of Thailand
chose to stay on the sidelines?
Some observers believe there must be some sort of reprisal, possibly by the US and its allies holding back weapon sales to these countries. Thailand, in particular, is in their cross hairs as it is among Washington’s major non- Nato
allies in Asia
In the initial vote held weeks after Russia’s February 24 invasion, Bangkok voted to censure Moscow.
At the time, a prominent Thai diplomacy analyst told me that Thailand’s vote was a “victory for the professional diplomats” in the kingdom as the ruling elite were as “pro-Putin” as they were “anti-democracy”.
This time round, other factors may be in play. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is eager for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ( Apec
) summit he is hosting in November to be a success.
For that to happen, attendance by the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin
is important. Hosting the event would not be as prestigious if the world’s most powerful leaders are not present.
Chinese President Xi Jinping
is also expected to attend, according to Thai officials, but US President Joe Biden
is likely to skip the meeting to attend his granddaughter’s wedding.
Apart from wanting to ensure Putin does not rescind his “RSVP”, Thailand’s leaders may have also calculated that their one-time censure of Russia in the March 2 vote is adequate to signal to Moscow the country’s views on the Ukraine invasion.
Hopefully Western leaders, unlike those behind hot takes on Twitter
, understand that countries, especially less mighty ones in Asia and the rest of the global south, will continue to exercise choices on Russia based on their respective national interests.