Russia on Monday asked the United Nations to address the violence in eastern Ukraine and proposed a resolution to quell the crisis, which has raged on for the past several months.
In the resolution, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., described the plight of refugees fleeing from Ukraine's east, and asked for humanitarian aid as well as efforts by the U.N. to broker a ceasefire and end the violence in the region. The resolution reportedly also contained several references to Ukraine's sovereignty and demands for independence made by pro-Moscow separatists, who are waging a weeks-long war against Ukraine's government forces, Associated Press, or AP, reported.
"There are people who come across the border, get Russian humanitarian assistance and bring it back to their families," Churkin said, according to Reuters, after Valerie Amos, current U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, conducted a meeting and briefed members of the council at Russia’s request.
Churkin reportedly claimed that nearly 60,000 Ukrainian refugees are in Russia, while according to Amos, nearly 34,000 residents have fled Ukraine to escape the clashes between separatist rebels and government forces.
The resolution follows protests, which involved the pelting of stones outside the Russian embassy in Kiev on Saturday, after pro-Russia rebels shot down a Ukrainian military plane before it was to land at Luhansk airport, killing all 49 troops on board. Churkin reportedly said that Russia is “disappointed” that the U.N. did not release a statement to denounce the attack on its embassy and blamed Lithuania, which was the only country to oppose releasing a press statement, which requires the permission of all member countries.
According to Raimonda Murmokaite, Lithuania's U.N. Ambassador, the press statement was rejected because Russia was opposed to the inclusion of language denouncing the downing of the military plane by separatist forces.
“Russia called this an unacceptable condition and canceled the statement," Murmokaite told AP. "We were not the ones who blocked. It was taken off the table by Russia."
Murmokaite said, according to AP: "We cannot equate the legitimate government with illegitimate illegal insurgents who are better armed than the Ukrainian army and are carrying out attacks on the territory and against the state of Ukraine."