Kenya abstains from Ukraine vote at UN Security Council

Permanent Mission of Kenya to the UN has called for dialogue

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2021/10/18: Permanent Representative of Kenya to the UN Martin Kimani, president for month of October of SC briefs media on Security Council discussion on Central African Republic during stakeout at UN Headquarters. He praised the decision made in CAR on ceasefire. The Ambassador also previewed the schedule of work for the Security Council. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Kenya on Monday abstained from a procedural vote taken in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) ahead of a meeting to discuss the situation on Ukraine.

Before the UNSC meeting, Russia, a permanent and veto-wielding member, called for a procedural vote to determine whether the open meeting should go ahead. While Russia and China voted against the meeting, India, Gabon and Kenya abstained.

All other 10 Council members, including Norway, France, the US, the UK, France, Ireland, Brazil and Mexico, voted in favour, therefore, the Council went ahead with the meeting on the ongoing crisis of the Ukraine border.

After the meeting, Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations Martin Kimani stated the move to abstain was to avoid another war.

"The Cold War meant hot wars & interventions in Africa that damaged our dreams of peace & prosperity. We don’t want a return to those days or for Africa’s conflicts to become proxies for great power rivalries. Give diplomacy a chance," tweeted Kimani.

Following the UNSC meeting, first Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia Dmitry Polyanskiy took to Twitter to thank four of "its colleagues", including Kenya, signaling that Nairobi is siding with Moscow over the issue.

A press statement by the Permanent Mission of Kenya to the UN seen by this writer indicated that Kenya has embraced the spirit of compromise.

"When the dispute is between major powers, and regards the security of a third country, it is imperative that they embrace a spirit of compromise. Compromise is not surrender," read the statement in part.

What's the situation?

As the threat of war looms, western nations for weeks have been occupied trying to ease growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Canada, the United States and European allies have been scrambling to support Ukraine in the event of an armed conflict, while threatening Russia with sanctions if it moves into the former Soviet state.

Since it won independence after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Ukraine has shed its Russian imperial legacy and forged close ties with the West.

In 2014, protests broke out in Ukraine when then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who favoured Russia, rejected an association agreement with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Moscow.

Russia responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and throwing its weight behind a separatist insurgency that broke out in Ukraine’s east. More than 14,000 people have died since the conflict began.

However, in recent weeks Moscow has deployed about 100,000 troops across Ukraine’s borders, along with tanks and other heavy artillery, sparking new fears of an invasion. Russia has denied it intends to launch an invasion, but western nations are unconvinced.

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