UN Security Council to meet after Kiev urgently requests session

Kiev, Feb 23 (EFE).- The United Nations Security Council will hold an urgent meeting on Ukraine on Wednesday evening, the second such session this week, after a request by Kiev in light of recent developments in the region.

The Security Council session, which will be an open session, will begin at 9:30 pm in New York, diplomatic sources said.

Earlier in the day, Ukraine had requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council after the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine asked for Russian military aid.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba made the announcement Kiev’s call for a Security Council meeting on Twitter after the Kremlin announced that the breakaway regions had requested military aid from Moscow, which he called a “major escalation” of the crisis.

The Kremlin said the military aid request was based on agreements of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance signed on Monday between Moscow and the rebel republics, which have been receiving Russian aid of various sorts since 2014.

Donetsk and Lugansk asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to help them “repel (military) aggression” by Ukraine.

As Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said, the rebel republics in their aid request were seeking to avoid civilian casualties and prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the territories under their control.

The pair of republics claimed that the “ongoing military aggression” by Ukraine against them is destroying schools, hospitals, nursery schools and civilian and industrial infrastructure, along with killing people there, including children.

Over the past eight years, since those regions broke away from Ukraine and received Russian backing, some 14,000 people have been killed in simmering conflict.

“The actions of the Kiev regime demonstrate the lack of will to put an end to the war in the Donbas,” the republics said, referring to the eastern Ukrainian region where they are located.

Putin on Tuesday asked the Russian Senate for authorization to send Russian troops abroad, that is into the Donbas, allegedly for peacekeeping purposes in the region.

Therefore, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council on Wednesday declared a state of emergency throughout the national territory, with the exception of the Donbas – where Kiev has declared a special anti-terrorist regime – and that declaration was ratified by the Supreme Rada, or Parliament.

The state of emergency will be in effect for 30 days and allows Ukrainian authorities to impose curfews and movement restrictions, prevent rallies and prohibit political parties and other organizations “in the interests of national security and public order.”

In addition, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the mobilization of reservists to complement the country’s army, which is trying to defend two fronts: the Donbas area and the country’s lengthy border with both Russia, where some 150,000 Russian troops are positioned near the border, and Moscow’s ally Belarus, where some 30,000 additional Russian troops are currently deployed.

Zelenskyy, for now, has not imposed martial law in the Donbas or broken relations with Russia, as certain Ukrainian politicians have been demanding.

EFE io/cd/bp

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