|General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York (Reuters / Emmanuel Dunand)|
One hundred UN member countries voted in favor of the resolution, while 11 voted against and 58 abstained. The resolution is non-binding.
The 193-nation assembly also voted on the Crimea referendum, which the Ukraine resolution says contains “no validity, (and) cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the City of Sevastopol.”
The resolution “calls upon all states to desist and refrain from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including any attempts to modify Ukraine’s borders through the threat or use of force or other unlawful means.”
And the resolution invites “all parties to pursue immediately the peaceful resolution” of the crisis “through direct political dialogue.”
In an effort to attract votes in the General Assembly, where there appears to be little enthusiasm for allowing the situation to create an irreparable rift with Moscow, the draft made no direct mention of Russia.
“The draft resolution is not aimed at condemning any member state,” said Ukraine’s UN envoy Yuriy Sergeyev in a letter accompanying the draft.
|The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.|
On March 19, Russia voted down the Ukrainian resolution denouncing the Crimea referendum, while China said it would abstain from the vote.
Russia also vetoed a Security Council resolution that said the Crimean referendum to join Russia would have “no validity” in an emergency session held the day before Crimea headed to the polls.
On March 16, an overwhelming majority of Crimean residents voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation, following violent protests in the capital Kiev, which forced out democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovich.
|Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (AFP Photo / Alexey Nikolsky)|
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia should create its own national card payment system, following the example of China and Japan. They diversified away from global monopolies like Visa and MasterCard and launched their own systems years ago.
“These systems work in countries like Japan and China, and they work very well. At first they worked nationally, circulating in their own market in their own territory, for their citizens, and now they are becoming very popular,” Putin told the upper house of parliament on Thursday.
“Why don’t we do that? We have to do this and we will do this,” the president said.
The president said the Japanese payment system first operated domestically is now used in 200 countries.
In his speech the president warned that Visa and MasterCard, that control about 85 percent of all card transactions in Russia, are doomed to lose if they choose to withdraw from the Russian market.
The recent block of certain banks by Visa and MasterCard pushed Russia to speed up the development of its own national payment system. On Monday, Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank said the PRO 100 payment system, that’s been in development for a couple of years, will be launched on a massive scale within months.
So far there are no strong reasons for Russia to abandon western payment systems all together, the Finance Minister said in an interview to Vesti 24 TV channel. But “a backup variant for different cases” should always be available, he said. Anton Siluanov added that the new payment system will operate within Russia. – RT.