Many African Nations Abstained from Voting on the Ukraine-Russia Resolution

Many African Nations Abstained from Voting on the Ukraine-Russia Resolution
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Clea Strydom

International Justice  and Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence. 

On Wednesday March 2nd, 2022, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling on Russia to “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.” The resolution was supported by 141 of the 193 UN member States, with 35 abstaining and 5 votes against the resolution. It is no surprise that Russia voted against the resolution, supported by some of their allies namely Belarus, Syria, Eritrea, and North Korea. What is more surprising is the African Nations abstained from voting or did not vote at all. Considering that the continent’s history of colonisation through violent invasions, one would think thar that the countries would strongly condemn Russia’s actions. 

Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, south Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe abstained from voting on the resolution, while Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Morocco and Togo decided to not vote at all. Uganda has claimed that their reason for abstaining is neutrality, while South Africa has noted that the wording in the resolution is too strong in condemning Russia which does not lend itself to a diplomatic solution. Eritrea claimed to have voted against the resolution because of the sanctions it imposes on Russia, noting that such sanctions are counterproductive and undermine the road to peace. The large amount of African States that abstained or failed to vote at all may be explained by increasing relations and ties between Russia and Africa. Since sanctions were imposed on Russia for its invasion of Crimea, Russia started creating stronger trading ties with African States. They also have a large military presence in Africa and Russia mercenaries from the Wagner Group have been sent to Libya and the Central African Republic to support the government offensives. 

Further Readings and Sources

Aljazeera (March 3, 2022). UN resolution against Ukraine invasion: Full text.

Africa News (March 3, 2022). United Nations: Africa splits over Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Africa Times (March 3, 2022). African nations abstain, but Eritrea casts only UN vote against Russia-Ukraine resolution.

Barabanov, I (March 3, 2022). “Ukraine conflict: How Russia forged closer ties with Africa.” BBC.

Times Live (March 2, 2022). SA explains decision to abstain from voting to reprimand Russia.