What you need to know:
- Last year, Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said neutrality was behind his country’s refusal to vote.
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the potential for the development of bilateral relations between the two countries as UN General Assembly met Wednesday, two days ahead of the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with Kyiv and its allies hoping to garner broad support for a resolution calling for a "just and lasting peace."
“I was pleased to have the first conversation in the history of bilateral relations with President of Uganda @KagutaMuseveni. I have outlined the Ukrainian peace initiatives at the UN. We also discussed the potential for the development of bilateral relations,” Mr Zelensky tweeted Wednesday.
The General Assembly has so far voted on three resolutions voicing opposition to the Russian invasion over the past year, with each receiving between 140 and 143 votes in favor.
Uganda and other countries, notably China and India, have abstained during the series of UN votes on Ukraine.
Kyiv hopes to garner the support of at least as many nations as in October, when 143 countries voted for a resolution condemning the annexation of several Ukrainian territories by Russia.
In October, at least 26 African countries voted in favor of the resolution rejecting Moscow’s controversial referenda in four Ukrainian regions. Uganda was again among 19 others that abstained from the vote.
At the time, Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said neutrality was behind his country’s refusal to vote.
“As incoming Chair of the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) neutrality is key. Uganda will continue to play a constructive role in the maintenance of peace and security both regionally and globally,” he said.
Mali, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe were among the African countries that abstained. Eritrea, which had previously voted to reject a UN resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, also abstained.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to "systematically" continue his offensive in Ukraine, in an anti-Western speech reminiscent of the Cold War.
As some countries in the global South express weariness that the North is overly focused on the conflict, US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield argued that supporting peace in Ukraine "is not somehow about choosing between the United States and Russia," but "defending the charter" of the UN.
China is also growing worried that the conflict may spiral out of control, and has indicated that it wants to present a proposal soon to find a "political solution" to the war.
When the Kremlin launched its invasion of Ukraine, it was designed to be a rapid conquest leading to capitulation and the installation of a pro-Russian regime.
Since then, Russia has been forced to give up ground but has kept up a barrage of drone and missile attacks, while the military and civilian toll has spiralled.
Various Western sources estimate the conflict has caused 150,000 casualties on each side.
Additional reporting by AFP