Zimbabwe was among the 35 countries that yesterday abstained from voting against Russia when the United Nations General Assembly put the Ukraine crisis for a vote.
The vote was 141 to 5, with 35 abstentions. It came after the 193-member assembly convened its first emergency session since 1997.
Zimbabwe is expected to release a comprehensive statement on the vote today.
Although resolutions aren’t legally binding, the vote yesterday reflected divided opinion over the Russian-initiated military operation in Ukraine.
Most Western nations voted against Russia while Zimbabwe was among the 35 that included China, El Salvador, India, Iran, Iraq, South Africa, Algeria, Angola and Mozambique that abstained.
Countries that were pushing for an outright condemnation of Russia got a rude awakening as at least 5 countries came out guns blazing in support of President Vladimir Putin. Countries that spoke for Russia included Belarus, North Korea, Cuba and Syria.
President Putin has raised concern over Ukraine, which he said must remain a neutral buffer state and not become a member of NATO. He has also called for NATO to stop military activities in Eastern Europe, blaming it for undermining the region’s security.
The Russian president has said the military operation in Ukraine is meant to protect and secure its security concerns.
Five countries, Russia, Syria, North Korea, Eritrea and Belarus voted against reprimanding Russia while 141 members supported the resolution.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is evacuating its citizens who have managed to leave Ukraine to neighbouring countries mainly Poland.
An envoy was dispatched to Poland for the safe-keeping of Zimbabweans who have fled to the central European country, these Zimbabweans are generally students who were studying in Eastern Europe.
The Government representative is taking care of their welfare in Poland while facilitating their return home after the Government committed to pay for their return tickets.
Posting on their micro blogging site Twitter this week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said: “The Government wishes to inform all students who have left Ukraine to urgently get in touch with the Government official in Poland.
“The Government has already dispatched an official to Poland to organise their stay in Poland and buy their tickets to Zimbabwe. All those who are stranded and wish to travel to Zimbabwe will be assisted.”
The Foreign Affairs Ministry assured parents that the Government was seized with evacuating its citizens home.
All students in Ukraine were being urged to cross the border into neighbouring Poland where Government intervention was guaranteed from there.
“Government wishes to assure parents with students in Ukraine that they should not worry. The Government is going to pay for return tickets for all the students currently being evacuated from Ukraine to Zimbabwe.
“All the students currently in Ukraine are urged to cross over to Poland and they will be assisted from there. Our Embassy in Germany is making all concerted efforts to make sure that our students are brought home safely.
“Our Embassy in Germany is already in touch with most of our students in Ukraine and is currently working towards assisting its nationals based in that country. Those who haven’t contacted the Embassy are urged to do so on the number: +4903023255676 or by email: [email protected]”
There are 256 registered Zimbabweans in Ukraine.