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'Grave concern': Russia seeks UN resolution; war not mentioned

Grave concern: Russia seeks UN resolution; war not mentioned

UNITED NATIONS: Russia has circulated a proposed UN Security Council resolution demanding protection for civilians "in vulnerable situations" in Ukraine and safe passage for humanitarian aid and people seeking to leave the country — but it makes no mention of Russia's responsibility for the war against its smaller neighbour.

The draft resolution released on Tuesday expresses "grave concern" at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and reports of civilian casualties in and around Ukraine. It endorses UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call for dialogue and negotiations and calls for a negotiated cease-fire to rapidly evacuate "all civilians," and underscores "the need for the parties concerned to agree on humanitarian pauses to this end."

The draft, which never identifies "the parties concerned," could be put to a vote as early as Wednesday, according to a Russian diplomat who was not authorised to speak publicly because discussions have been private.

The Russian measure was circulated a day after France and Mexico announced that a humanitarian resolution on Ukraine they co-sponsored, which had been discussed for two weeks in the Security Council, was being moved to the 193-member General Assembly for discussion and a vote.

That draft resolution called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and deplored the dire humanitarian consequences of the hostilities in Ukraine, provisions which are not in the proposed Russian resolution. The France-Mexico resolution would almost certainly have led to a Russian veto in the Security Council, but there are no vetoes in the General Assembly.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters that his country is prepared to support a humanitarian resolution and after Monday's announcement by the French and Mexican ambassadors Russia thinks "the chances are still there," so he was putting forward its "roadmap" and will see whether the council adopts it.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his country understands that it is not a member of NATO, so it needs reliable security guarantees and hopes to cooperate with partners who are ready to help the country in the face of Russia's military aggression.

Zelensky said this in his speech at a meeting of the leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force, according to Ukrinform.

"It is clear that Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We understand that. We have heard for years about an allegedly open door, but we have already heard that cannot enter it. It is true. It must be acknowledged. I am glad that our people are beginning to understand and count on themselves and on partners who are helping us. Ukraine does not currently claim the trigger of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. […] We understand that we are not in the Alliance," he said.

Zelensky stressed that Ukraine is doing everything to get planes, air defense systems.

"We emphasize the need for new formats of interaction, new determination. If we cannot enter the open door, we must work with communities that will help us, protect us. And we would like to have some reliable guarantees that will work for us, which means they will also work for you," he said.

Zelensky also received a lengthy standing ovation from parliamentarians in Ottawa and cheers of "glory to Ukraine". The President thanked Canada for its continued support but renewed a plea for a no-fly zone over his country. His speech follows fresh Canadian sanctions on Russian officials.

Speaking virtually from Ukraine to a packed crowd in the House of Commons to members of parliament, senators and dignitaries on Tuesday, Zelensky thanked Canada - a "steadfast supporter" - for ongoing military and humanitarian assistance being offered to Ukraine. But he called on them to do more, asking again for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Ukraine.

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