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UN Security Council discusses Russian draft on Ukraine

The UN Security Council on Monday discussed behind closed doors a draft Russian resolution on creating a humanitarian corridor to allow Ukrainians to escape areas affected by fighting.

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Monday discussed behind closed doors a draft Russian resolution on creating a humanitarian corridor to allow Ukrainians to escape areas affected by fighting.

It is the first time Moscow has put forward a Council resolution on Ukraine since the crisis began, baffling Western diplomats given Russia's current opposition to such corridors in Syria.

Russia is the rotating president of the Council for June.

"Certainly after resistance to any sensible action on humanitarian issues in Syria, to propose something on Ukraine is a little bit ironic to say the least," Lithuanian Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite told reporters on her way into the talks.

"We don't need a draft resolution. The only thing they can do is basically disown the rebels, stop supplies, stop financing, disassociate with them completely and I think the issues will be solved within a very short period of time," she added.

Russia has been largely isolated at the United Nations over Ukraine. In a non-binding resolution in March, the General Assembly refused to recognize its annexation of Crimea.

Russia vetoed a similar resolution in the Security Council, which was approved by 13 other members. China abstained.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the resolution in a televised news conference from Moscow.

He said it would contain demands "to immediately create an aid corridor along which peaceful citizens can leave the regions where military activity is happening if they want."

"We want the Security Council to demand that no obstacles are put up to prevent the peaceful population from leaving the zones of military operations or to prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid to these zones," Lavrov said.

The resolution calls for "every assistance to the activities of the International Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations in southeastern Ukraine," he added.

Lavrov said the draft was deliberately "depoliticized" and aimed at "taking measures that will allow the immediate easing of the suffering of the peaceful population."

Moscow has four times vetoed Western resolutions on the war in Syria, paralyzing Security Council efforts to end a conflict that has killed more than 160,000 people.

Lavrov said he hoped that the draft resolution on Ukraine would be "correctly received" by the UN Security Council and "taken up and acted upon immediately".

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