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Russia says Ukraine situation worsening, will submit UN resolution

By staff reporter

Russia will submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on Monday calling for an immediate end to worsening violence in Ukraine and the creation of humanitarian corridors in the east of the country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

A fierce battle was underway on Monday in Ukraine’s rebellious east after a pro-Russian militia attacked a Ukrainian border post with automatic weapons and grenade launchers in the early hours.

Security sources said a force of separatists had occupied the upper floors of a nearby apartment block and were shooting into the border post on the southern edge of Luhansk, a city very close to the frontier with Russia.

“Shooting is continuing. There has been no let-up in firing for seven hours now,” border post spokesman Oleh Slobodin said.

“We have 8 or 9 wounded. The attackers have five dead and 8 wounded,” he said.

Ukraine’s eastern region has been riven with separatist armed rebellion for the past two months which the Kiev government says is fomented by Russia. It says armed fighters from Russia and the Caucasus region are fighting alongside rebels who are fighting rule from Kiev.

Lavrov said that Western nations had assured Russia the situation in Ukraine would improve after its May 25 presidential election but that “everything is happening in exactly the opposite way”.

“People are dying every day. Peaceful civilians are suffering more and more – the army, military aviation and heavy weapons continue to be used against them,” he said when asked about Ukraine at a joint news conference after talks with his Mauritanian counterpart.

The draft resolution “will contain a demand for the immediate halt to violence and the beginning of actual negotiations with the aim of establishing a stable and reliable ceasefire,” Lavrov said.

It will also include “a demand for the creation, without delay, of humanitarian corridors though which peaceful civilians could leave combat zones if they wish,” he said. The text would also call for guarantees of unhindered access for humanitarian aid.

Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko and the pro-Western authorities in Kiev have defied Moscow’s repeated calls for an end to the government’s operation against armed separatists in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which border Russia. Russia calls it a “punitive operation”, while Kiev says it is aimed at combating terrorists.

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