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Lukewarm response as Russia submits draft Ukraine resolution

Russia has submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for humanitarian corridors to be set up in Ukraine. Moscow voiced exasperation at other members' skepticism, stressing swift action was needed.

Russia circulated its draft resolution to Security Council members on Monday evening, after a day of further violence in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The 15-member council met to discuss the document, which calls for a halt to the fighting and for safe conditions to be established for humanitarian agencies to deliver aid and medical care.

Speaking after the meeting, Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow had doubts the resolution would not be adopted swiftly enough.

"There was some positive reactions from some members of the council," said Churkin. "However, others were asking so many questions that if we were to try to answer them then we would be talking about things for weeks."

"We have not yet decided what our next move is going to be in terms of working on this resolution," he added.

'Hypocritical' resolution

Churkin had earlier told the Security Council that the humanitarian situation in south-eastern Ukraine was "dire," adding that thousands might need assistance if the fighting following the launch of

Ukraine's military offensive

did not come to an end.

However, British Ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, told reporters after the consultations that there was little support for the resolution in its current form. "No one is under food shortages, there's no besieging of cities so it's not quite clear what the scale or crisis is that would justify humanitarian corridors," he said.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the draft resolution "hypocritical," repeating a

US claim that Russia is continuing to back separatist fighters

in eastern Ukraine.

There had been skepticism over the resolution even as Security Council members were on their way to the meeting. The UN ambassador of former Soviet republic Lithuania, Raimonda Murmokaite, claimed that - given its stance on Syria - Russia was behaving inconsistently.

'No need for a draft'

Moscow has vetoed four Security Council resolutions for sanctions against the Syrian government during that country's civil war, in which more than 160,000 people are now believed to have died.

"After four vetoes and 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," said Murmokaite.

"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.

Earlier in the day, Moscow had branded an alleged Ukrainian air strike on a rebel-held administrative building in the city of Luhansk as "a crime," after five people were reported dead. Kyiv denied it had mounted an aerial attack, claiming that the rebels had caused the explosion themselves, possibly through the careless handling of explosives.

Ukraine's border guard agency also said five pro-Russia separatists had been killed and eight injured when

rebels attacked one of its camps

near Luhansk.

rc/jr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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