UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ukraine is predicting that the U.N. General Assembly will adopt a resolution Thursday reaffirming the country's territorial integrity and calling the referendum that led to Russia's annexation of its Crimean Peninsula illegal.
Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev said told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the resolution has "several dozen" co-sponsors and support from democratic countries around the world — but wouldn't predict how many of them might vote "yes."
Russia has mounted a campaign against the resolution, claiming the dispute is an East-West issue. Sergeyev said he has been speaking to regional groups and explaining that Russia violated the U.N. Charter that guarantees the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine.
Russia has blocked action in the Security Council where they have veto power as one its five permanent members. Even so, the 15-member council has held eight meetings on Ukraine, as Western powers strive to keep up the pressure on Moscow.
Unlike the Security Council, resolutions in the 193-member General Assembly cannot be vetoed but they are not legally binding.
While Ukraine has a lot of sympathy among U.N. members, Russia has a lot of clout and diplomats predict a significant number of abstentions.
One diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said between 80 and 90 "yes" votes would send a strong message to Russia. But that would mean support from less than half the U.N. member states.
Sergeyev said Russia's takeover and annexation of Crimea undermines the basic principles of the U.N. Charter and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum under which Russia, the United States and Britain guaranteed Ukraine's territorial integrity when it surrendered its share of Soviet nuclear arsenals to Moscow after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.