U.N. Security Council calls emergency meeting on Ukraine

A Western diplomat said ‘the meeting was requested by the Russians’

Published: Updated:

The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency session on the Ukraine crisis late Sunday amid fresh clashes with pro-Russian gunmen in the country’s restive eastern rust belt.

Russia had earlier demanded that the council and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe hold such talks.

Nigerian envoy Joy Ogwu, whose country holds the rotating council presidency in April, invited fellow members of the group for “informal consultations” at 8:00 pm (0001 GMT Monday), a statement said.

A Western diplomat said “the meeting was requested by the Russians to make their case that Ukraine’s latest declarations about the anti-terrorist operation threaten peace and security.”

‘Waging war’

Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchynov earlier announced that the national security and defense council will launch a full-scale anti-terrorist operation involving the armed forces of Ukraine.

The Russian foreign ministry immediately responded by accusing Ukraine’s leaders of “waging war against their own people” and demanding that the U.N. Security Council immediately address Kiev’s use of force.

On Saturday, masked gunmen stormed a series of police and security service buildings in coordinated raids that Washington’s U.N. envoy Samantha Power said bore “tell-tale signs of Moscow’s involvement.”

The attacks were especially unsettling for both Kiev and Western leaders because of their remarkable similarity to events leading up to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.