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The UN Security Council meets to discuss the war in Ukraine, at United Nations headquarters on May 15.John Minchillo/The Associated Press

In an election reflecting opposition to Russia’s war against Ukraine, European Union member Slovenia overwhelmingly defeated Moscow’s close ally Belarus on Tuesday for a seat on the UN Security Council starting in January.

The race between the two members of the UN’s East European group was the only contested election for five seats on the UN’s most powerful body, and was closely watched because of the two countries’ opposing views on Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

In the secret ballot election in the 193-member General Assembly, Slovenia received 153 votes while Belarus got just 38 votes.

The four other countries elected to the Security Council to serve two-year terms were Guyana which received 191 votes, Sierra Leone 188 votes, Algeria 184 votes and South Korea 180 votes.

The five new council members will start their terms on Jan. 1, replacing five countries whose two-year terms end on Dec. 31 – Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and United Arab Emirates.

The 10 non-permanent seats on the council are allotted to regional groups, who usually select candidates, but sometimes cannot agree on an uncontested slate.

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