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Russia pushes for peace amid heavy fighting in Ukraine

RUSSIA called an emergency meeting of the UN security council today to introduce a resolution calling for an immediate halt to violence in Ukraine.

Russia holds the security council presidency in June and Moscow’s UN mission said that it would seek action to end weeks of deadly clashes in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine between government troops and pro-Russian forces.

“Russia plans to submit a draft resolution today,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow with his Mauritanian counterpart.

“It will contain demands to immediately halt violence and begin practical negotiations for the purpose of establishing a stable and reliable ceasefire,” he added.

“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.”

Earlier, a border guards’ camp in Lugansk in eastern Ukraine, loyal to the Kiev government, reported armed clashes with pro-Russian fighters.

Border Guard Service spokesman Serhiy Astakhov said that rebels in uniform near the base had promised safety for the officers if they surrendered and laid down their arms.

He reported five rebels as having been killed and eight injured in the attack on the camp, while seven servicemen had been injured, three seriously.

The initial attack by about 100 insurgents was met by firing from the border guards and the number of attackers swelled to around 400 a few hours later.

Mr Astakhov said that the Kiev forces had sent an aeroplane to the area but had still been unable to quell the attack or break the encirclement.

The fighting stopped around 1pm local time but resumed a few hours later with heavy gunfire heard in the area.

Vladislav Seleznyov, who is press secretary for Kiev’s operations in the east, said the attack may have been an attempt to disrupt communications.

He reported another rebel attack on a government checkpoint in Sloviansk and claimed that pro-Russian units had mined a number of power plants there, which he said would be detonated if the government were to move on the city.


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