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The U.N. votes to condemn Russia's attempts to annex parts of Ukraine

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Russia looks increasingly isolated on the world stage. The United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to condemn Russia's attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory. And it's calling on Russia to reverse the move. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, says this wasn't just a vote about Russia's aggression in Ukraine. This was about the very foundations of the United Nations.

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LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We just saw 143 countries affirm the fundamental principles of the U.N. charter. You saw these countries stand up for territorial integrity. They stood up for sovereignty. And you saw these countries stand up for this institution.

KELEMEN: Only four countries joined Russia in opposing the resolution. China was among the 35 nations that abstained. India's ambassador, Ruchira Kamboj, also abstained and called for peace talks.

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RUCHIRA KAMBOJ: As developing countries face the brunt of the conflict's consequences on food, fuel and fertilizer supplies, it is critical that the voice of the global South be heard.

KELEMEN: But others in the so-called global South did condemn Russia. Here's Liberia's ambassador, Cecilia McGill.

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CECILIA MCGILL: This is one of the unprecedented moments in international history, and one that leaves an indelible stain on our great charter.

KELEMEN: Allows Ambassador Ilana Seid urged countries that are friends with Russia to take a stand.

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ILANA SEID: As in life, true friends are those who have the courage and conviction to tell you the truth, to urge you back on the right path when you've gone wrong, even when it's uncomfortable.

KELEMEN: While many countries said they want to see diplomacy, U.S. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said the only way to bring peace is to stop Russia's aggression. She said the world has to stand together with conviction. And she believes it did with the general assembly vote.

Michele Kelemen, NPR News, the State Department.

(SOUNDBITE OF FORESTLVL'S "ENDLESS SUNDAY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.