UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Russia on Tuesday circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding the protection of civilians “in vulnerable situations” in Ukraine and safe passage for humanitarian aid and people seeking to leave the country, but he makes no mention of Russia’s responsibility for the war against its small neighbour.
The draft resolution endorses UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for dialogue and negotiations, calls for a negotiated ceasefire to rapidly evacuate “all civilians”, and stresses “the need for parties concerned to agree on humanitarian pauses for this purpose”. ” But he never identifies “the parties concerned”.
The draft expresses its “serious concern” at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and reports of civilian casualties in and around Ukraine, and strongly condemns “attacks directed against civilians and civilian objects, including indiscriminate bombings.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters the resolution was put into final form that could be put to a vote on Tuesday, and a Russian diplomat said a vote could take place as early as Wednesday.
British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward tweeted that the Russian plan “has some glaring omissions. For example, the fact that Russia is the aggressor here, and it is Russia’s invasion that is causing this humanitarian crisis.
The Russian draft was released a day after France and Mexico announced that a humanitarian resolution on Ukraine they had co-sponsored, which had been discussed for two weeks at the 15-member Security Council, was in the works. to be transferred to the General Assembly of 193 members.
The Franco-Mexican draft resolution would demand “an immediate cessation of hostilities” and deplore “the disastrous humanitarian consequences of hostilities against Ukraine” and would almost certainly have led to a Russian veto. These provisions do not appear in the Russian motion for a resolution.
France’s UN ambassador Nicolas De Rivière told reporters: “Obviously it would have been difficult in the Security Council.”
By presenting the draft resolution to the General Assembly where there is no veto, the sponsors lose the perspective that the resolution is legally binding, as Security Council resolutions are. But they could gain massive support for a call to end the violence and to lament the dire humanitarian situation caused by the war. Diplomats said on Tuesday that a vote in the General Assembly would take time.
Nebenzia told reporters that the ambassadors of France and Mexico knew from the start that “we would be ready to adopt a humanitarian resolution on the situation in Ukraine, provided that it is not a disguise to blame and shame Russia. “. He said they were aware of the paragraphs in the Security Council’s draft “which are not humanitarian” and should not be in a humanitarian resolution.
Russian authorities maintain that they did not start the war and have repeatedly and falsely decried reports of Russian military setbacks or civilian deaths in Ukraine as fake news, as well as denounced reports calling the war offensive or invasion. State media and government officials insist that Russian forces only target military installations.
Nebenzia said Russia believes the “chances are still there” for the Security Council to pass a humanitarian resolution, so she presented her own resolution “with clear humanitarian provisions” and will see if the Council adopts it.
To pass, the resolution requires at least nine “yes” votes and no vetoes from another permanent member of the council – the US, UK, France or China.
Olivia Dalton, spokeswoman for the US mission to the United Nations, called “unconscionable that Russia, the aggressor responsible for creating this crisis, has the audacity to propose this resolution”. She said the United States will work with other countries for a General Assembly resolution “that will more accurately reflect the views of UN member states” on the impact of “unprovoked aggression.” ” from Russia.
The Russian draft resolution also demands that “all parties concerned” respect international humanitarian law, which requires the protection of civilian infrastructure “indispensable to the survival of the civilian population” and “essential to enable the provision of essential services in conflicts. armed”.
It demands that all parties – again unnamed – “refrain from deliberately placing military objects and equipment near” civilian infrastructure or in densely populated areas, “as well as not using civilian objects for military purposes”.
The Russian draft also calls on “all parties concerned to allow safe and unimpeded passage to destinations outside Ukraine, including to foreign nationals without discrimination”, and to facilitate humanitarian aid to all those in need. need in and around Ukraine.
And it asks the secretary-general to report on the implementation of the resolution within seven days “and regularly thereafter”.
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