A year after Russia invaded Ukraine, the UN General Assembly is to vote on a resolution without concrete ideas for a peaceful solution.
The draft drawn up by Ukraine and the representation of the European Union, which is available to the German Press Agency, reaffirms a number of positions already expressed by the largest UN body with its 193 member states - including the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the call on Russia to to withdraw troops. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin started the war on February 24.
special session next week
A special session of the UN General Assembly to mark the anniversary of the invasion begins next Wednesday at the UN headquarters in New York. A number of foreign ministers are expected.
"It is an echo of certain resolutions of the UN General Assembly," said a diplomat from the German Press Agency. The strategy of Ukraine's western supporters is not to put complex outlines to a vote for an end to the war, but to persuade as many countries as possible to say "yes". In doing so, they want to build on the voting results of last year, when 143 states opposed Russia's illegal annexations in Ukraine in October.
A tight, rather vague resolution is best suited for this: "The less it contains, the better - because what counts are the numbers," said the diplomat. A strong result on the scale of past votes could counteract the impression that there is war-weariness and crumbling support for Kiev in much of the world. According to Western assessments, Russian President Vladimir Putin is counting on dwindling support for Ukraine.
Behind the scenes at the UN, there has been discussion in recent months about how progressive a resolution marking the anniversary of the invasion could be. According to UN sources, Ukraine had been working on resolutions outlining a war crimes tribunal and text that would translate a ten-point peace plan by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into a UN document. Both ideas were dropped for the vote, which is expected on Thursday.
The text now contains rather vague formulations about the end of the war: Achieving a comprehensive peace, which is necessary, would "make a significant contribution to strengthening world peace and international security," it says. It also calls for a full exchange of prisoners of war and stresses the need for those responsible for the most serious war crimes to be held accountable.
Zelenskyj welcomes prisoner exchange
In his evening video message in Kiev, President Zelenskyj welcomed the return of 100 soldiers from Russian captivity. The first deputy mayor of the city of Enerhodar, known as the location of the largest European nuclear power plant, Zaporizhia, is also free again. "I'm happy for the more than 100 families whose sons, brothers and husbands are returning," he said. Russia had also received 101 soldiers from Ukrainian captivity.
At the same time, Zelenskyy emphasized that the fight continues to focus on keeping the front line under control and preparing for new escalation steps by the enemy. "Progress in the further liberation of our country is a priority," Zelenskyj said. For this, deliveries of weapons and ammunition from the West and training of the military are necessary.
Khodorkovsky does not expect peace with Putin in power
Kremlin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky does not believe in a peace solution for Ukraine with Putin. "As long as Putin's regime is in power, the war will not end," Khodorkovsky said on Thursday in Munich ahead of the official start of the Munich Security Conference (MSC). He discussed the theses of his new book "How to kill a dragon. Handbook for prospective revolutionaries", which is published by Europa Verlag.
250 million euros confiscated from Russian oligarch
Meanwhile, according to a court order and according to the secret service in Kiev, Ukraine will receive assets from the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska worth the equivalent of 250 million euros. The Supreme Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine has upheld a decision by the Ministry of Justice in Kiev, according to which Deripaska's companies, land and holdings will be handed over to the state, the secret service said on Thursday evening. Ukraine wants to use the money to compensate for war damage.
Deripaska, who is close to Putin's head of the Kremlin and is also subject to sanctions in the West as a supporter of the war of aggression against Ukraine, is one of the richest Russians. The multi-billionaire, who became rich in the aluminum business, among other things, has managed companies through a network of companies and business structures in various regions of Ukraine, it said.
What is important today
Head of State Selenskyj opens the Munich Security Conference with a video address. Then Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and French President Emmanuel Macron will speak at the meeting of politicians and experts from 96 countries, which lasts until Sunday. The conference will focus on Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, which began a year ago.