On Monday, November 14, the UN General Assembly gathered for a special session, where they considered a draft resolution on creating a mechanism to compensate Ukraine for damages caused by a full-scale war started by Russia.

The UN General Assembly reportedly adopted a resolution prepared by Ukraine and co-sponsored by about 50 other states, which calls on Russia to pay compensation for the damage caused by its full-scale invasion.

The General Assembly is the UN’s most representative body, comprising all 193 Member States.  The resolution was reportedly supported by 94 countries; 14 states (Bahamas, Belarus, Central African Republic, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Mali, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Zimbabwe) voted against, and 73, including Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other countries, abstained from voting.  

The UN News Center says that in presenting the resolution, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya used the biblical adage that “there is nothing new under the sun” as a motif throughout his remarks.  He reportedly insisted that Russia must be held accountable for its violations of international law.

“Seventy-seven years ago, the Soviet Union demanded and received reparations, calling it a moral right of a country that has suffered war and occupation,” he said. 

“Today, Russia, who claims to be the successor of the 20th century’s tyranny, is doing everything it can to avoid paying the price for its own war and occupation, trying to escape accountability for the crimes it is committing.”

Ukrainian diplomat pointed out that Russia also supported the creation of the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC), established in 1991 following Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

The Commission completed its mandate in February, he reported, having paid out over $52 billion in reparations to victims.

He outlined the impact of the Russian war on his country, including bombings targeting residential buildings and infrastructure, the demolition of nearly half of the power grid and utilities, massive displacement, and atrocities such as murder, rape, torture and forced deportations.

“This proposal is not about Russia alone. It will work for the benefit of all those who are being threatened now or might be threatened later by use of force,” Ukrainian diplomat added. 

Speaking before the vote, Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya reportedly characterized the draft resolution as “a classic example” of a narrow group of States acting not on the basis of international law, but rather trying to consecrate something that is illegal.  He said countries backing the resolution were attempting to position the General Assembly as a judicial body, which it is not.

Mr. Nebenzya said the proposed reparations mechanism will be created by a group of countries that will decide how it functions.

“The UN will play no role in this process because the proposed mechanism is suggested to be created outside of the UN, and no one has any plans to account to the General Assembly for its activity,” he continued.

Furthermore, he had “no doubt” that the funding will come from frozen Russian assets, which total billions.