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Russia Reverses Anti-UN Stance, Looks For Emergency Meeting On Ukraine

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AP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow will seek Security Council action to end weeks of violence in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine between government troops and pro-Russian insurgents.

The resolution "will contain demands to immediately halt violence and begin practical negotiations for the purpose of establishing a stable and reliable cease fire," Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow. "This draft resolution will also contain a requirement to immediately create humanitarian corridors that will help civilians leave hostility zones, should they wish to do so."

Russia holds the rotating Security Council presidency in June, and Russia's U.N. Mission said the closed consultations will take place at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT).

Moscow has been virtually isolated in more than a dozen previous Security Council meeting on Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and the ongoing crisis. But because of Russia's veto power as a permanent member, the council has been unable to act. By contrast, the 193-member General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, affirmed Ukraine's territorial integrity in a surprisingly strong but nonbinding vote.

Russia has called almost daily for an end to violence in eastern Ukraine, but this is the first time Moscow has called for a Security Council resolution.

It was unclear how much support the proposal would have.

No council member has recognized Russia's annexation of Crimea, and Western nations are virtually certain to demand that any resolution reaffirm Ukraine's territorial integrity. There could also be some objections if the resolution calls for an end to violence under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which can be militarily enforced.

The proposed resolution comes at a time when Russia is opposing the creation of humanitarian corridors in Syria, angering many council members. A draft resolution that would authorize the delivery of humanitarian aid across four border points without Syrian government approval is currently being discussed by the five veto-wielding permanent members.

At the last Security Council meeting on Ukraine last week, the Russian and Ukrainian ambassadors clashed over the surge of violence in the east and both urged the council to take action to end it.

Russia's Vitaly Churkin said the council should call on Ukraine to end the "military chaos. Ukraine's Yuriy Sergeyev called on the council to demand that Russia withdraw its soldiers and paramilitary groups from the country. Churkin said it's very difficult to talk about dialogue "when you're killing people."

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Associated Press Writer Lynn Berry contributed to this report from Moscow

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