UN aid chief: No humanitarian crisis in Ukraine

June 4, 2014

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ukraine said Wednesday it faces no humanitarian crisis, as Russia claims, and the U.N. aid chief appeared to agree.

When asked whether Ukraine has a humanitarian aid crisis, Valerie Amos replied, “Not as far as I’m aware.”

Russia on Monday surprised diplomats by introducing a Security Council resolution that called for humanitarian aid corridors in troubled eastern Ukraine. Some diplomats were privately dismayed that Russia asked for this while opposing the creation of humanitarian corridors in Syria, its close ally. The United States immediately denounced the resolution as “hypocritical.”

Diplomats this week discussed asking the U.N. to investigate Russia’s claims.

The resolution expresses “grave concern” at “the dire situation of thousands of civilians trapped in besieged areas” in Russian-speaking southeastern Ukraine.

It also demands an immediate halt to deadly clashes in eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting pro-Russian insurgents for weeks. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin has said the violence will worsen the political situation for Ukraine’s president-elect, Petro Poroshenko.

Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, insisted Wednesday that Russia’s proposed resolution is not necessary.

“The resolution was drafted by a country that recently annexed a big part of our territory,” Sergeyev said. “There’s a double standard, as they are very restrained on a new draft resolution on Syria, where the humanitarian crisis so obvious.”

Sergeyev also told reporters that outside groups, including the Red Cross, have confirmed there is no humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

“Ukrainian security forces are not besieging civilians,” he added.

The spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general on Wednesday said the U.N. had not received any request from either Russia or Ukraine for the delivery of international aid to the region.

The Security Council has met more than a dozen times on the situation in Ukraine, but it has been unable to act because Russia holds veto power as a permanent council member. Russia, which has found itself virtually isolated on this issue, has called several times for an end to the violence, but this is the first time it has proposed a resolution to back it up.

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