News / Europe

Russia Proposes Humanitarian Corridors for Ukraine

Armed militiamen supporting the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic guard a checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, June 1, 2014.
Armed militiamen supporting the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic guard a checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, June 1, 2014.
Margaret Besheer
Russia on Monday circulated its proposal for a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for humanitarian corridors and a cease-fire in southeastern Ukraine.  The draft text was met with skepticism from several Council members.

Russia’s U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin told reporters the draft resolution demands the immediate cessation of hostilities, urges parties to commit to a sustainable cease-fire, and calls for the creation of humanitarian corridors to allow aid in, and civilians safely out.

“If this fighting continues, there is going to be even more hostility.  There are going to be more hostilities, more casualties.  By implication it’s going to make the political dialogue in Ukraine more difficult. We do have the political framework there - the Geneva statement and the road map of the OSCE, but in order for that to work, violence needs to stop," said Churkin.

He said the resolution is intended to be “non-politicized” and purely humanitarian.

Ukraine’s envoy, Yuriy Sergeyev, dismissed the Russian move.

“The very fact that the resolution on Ukraine is tabled by the Russian Federation is cynical and immoral," said Sergeyev. "A country that has recently occupied and annexed a part of the territory of Ukraine, a country sponsoring terrorism and unrest in the eastern regions of Ukraine, now offers a settlement plan?”

He said if Moscow wants to see an end to violence in southeastern Ukraine, it should stop sending fighters, weaponry and money to pro-Russian factions there.

After a hastily called referendum in March, watched over by Russian troops, the Crimean region of Ukraine voted to declare independence and was then annexed by Moscow. An insurgency erupted in parts of eastern and southern Ukraine shortly after, with many Western nations accusing Russia of financing and arming the rebels.

Lithuanian ambassador Raimonda Murmokaité said it is “ironic” that after four vetoes on any action to stop the bloodshed and humanitarian catastrophe engulfing Syria for more than three years, Russia decided a humanitarian resolution is necessary for Ukraine.

“We don’t need a draft resolution. The only thing they [Russia] can do is basically disown the rebels, stop supplies, stop financing, disassociate with them completely, and I think the issues will be settled within a very short period of time," said Murmokaité.

France’s envoy said after reviewing the Russian text that it lacked important references, such as to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and the right of Ukraine to defend itself. He said several Council members also said they would need a report from the United Nations department of humanitarian affairs on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

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