The UN Security Council meets again on Thursday to debate Ukraine

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The UN Security Council will meet on Thursday at the request of six Western nations who have requested an open session on Ukraine ahead of an expected vote on a humanitarian resolution by Russia, which they have slammed for threatening Moscow’s war didn’t mention his little neighbor.

“Russia commits war crimes and attacks civilians. Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine is a threat to all of us,” tweeted the United Kingdom’s UN mission, one of the six countries that requested the meeting.

The mission posted the flags of the six council nations requesting the meeting – Britain, USA, France, Ireland, Norway and Albania.

Russia on Tuesday circulated a draft Security Council resolution calling for protection for civilians “in vulnerable situations” in Ukraine and safe passage for humanitarian aid and people trying to leave the country, but without mentioning the war.

The draft resolution would also underscore the need for “the parties concerned” to agree on humanitarian breaks to evacuate “all civilians” quickly, but never names the parties.

The decision is expected to be voted on by the council on Friday.

Russia presented its draft a day after France and Mexico announced that a co-sponsored humanitarian resolution on Ukraine would be submitted to the 193-member General Assembly after two weeks of discussions on the draft in the 15-member Security Council.

The Franco-Mexican draft resolution would call for “an immediate cessation of hostilities” and deplore “the grave humanitarian consequences of hostilities against Ukraine.” These provisions are not included in the Russian text, and the France-Mexico resolution would almost certainly have resulted in a Russian veto if put to a vote in the Council.

British Ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, tweeted on Tuesday that the Russian draft “contains a few glaring omissions. For example, the fact that Russia is the aggressor here and that Russia’s invasion is fueling this humanitarian crisis.”

Russian Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky responded in a tweet on Thursday, saying “good ruse!” and asking the UK for examples of UN humanitarian resolutions referring to “aggression” or “invasion”.

Russian authorities claim they did not start the war and have repeatedly labeled reports of Russian military backlash or civilian deaths in Ukraine as fake news. They also denounce reports that describe their military operations as war or invasion. State media and government officials insist Russian forces are targeting only military installations, despite widespread video footage of civilians and civilian infrastructure, including apartment buildings and hospitals, being hit by Russian missiles.

Polyansky tweeted that Russia “is fully comfortable with a humanitarian text,” but said it’s clear Western councilors don’t need one.

However, Mexican Ambassador Juan Ramon De La Fuente told reporters on Wednesday that he and French Ambassador Nicolas De Riviere were working to present their humanitarian resolution to the General Assembly “very soon – in the following days”. He expressed hope that the Assembly can vote on it this week or next.

The Russian mission had said a vote on its resolution could take place as early as Wednesday, but some council members wanted to discuss the text and a closed meeting of council experts was held on Wednesday morning. Russia then asked to postpone the vote, and the United Arab Emirates, which holds the Council presidency this month, said it was now scheduled for Friday.

Olivia Dalton, spokeswoman for the US Mission to the United Nations, said Tuesday it was “irresponsible that Russia, the aggressor responsible for creating this crisis, would have the audacity to introduce this resolution.”

She said the United States would work with other countries on a General Assembly resolution “that more accurately reflects the views of UN member states” on the impact of Russia’s “unprovoked aggression.”

After Russia vetoed a Western-backed Security Council resolution calling for an end to the war and withdrawal of its troops from Ukraine, the sponsors tabled a similar resolution in the General Assembly. It was adopted on March 2 by an overwhelming majority of 141 votes to 5, with 35 countries abstaining.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but there are no vetoes and they have leverage to reflect international opinion.

Norwegian Ambassador Mona Juul told reporters on Wednesday, “If Russia really wants to end the suffering of civilians in Ukraine, they should end the war.”

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