Russia vetoes UN demand
to stop attacks on Ukraine,
India, China, UAE abstain,
heavy casualties in Kyiv

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UNITED NATIONS: Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Friday demanding that Moscow immediately stop its attack on Ukraine and withdraw all troops, a defeat the United States and its supporters knew was inevitable but said would highlight Russia’s global isolation.
The vote was 11 in favour, with Russia voting no and China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstaining, which showed significant but not total opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his country’s smaller and militarily weaker neighbour.
The resolution’s failure paves the way for supporters to call for a quick vote on a similar resolution in the 193-member UN General Assembly, where there are no vetoes. There was no immediate word on a timetable for an assembly vote.

NEW YORK: Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia votes during a United Nations Security Council meeting, on a resolution regarding Russia’s actions toward Ukraine in New York City on Friday.

The vote was delayed for two hours the United States and Albania, which co-sponsored the resolution, and their supporters scrambled behind the scenes to get wavering nations to support the resolution. China’s decision to abstain, rather than use its veto alongside usual ally Russia, was seen as a diplomatic achievement.
“You can veto this resolution, but you cannot veto our voices,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield told her Russian counterpart. “You cannot veto the truth. You cannot veto our principles. You cannot veto the Ukrainian people.”
Brazil’s Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho, whose country’s vote was initially in question but turned into a yes, said his government is “gravely concerned” about Russia’s military action. “A line has been crossed, and this council cannot remain silent,” he said.
In response, Russian UN Ambassador reiterated his country’s claims that it is standing up for people in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting the government for eight years. He accused the West of ignoring Ukrainian abuses there.
“You have made Ukraine a pawn in your geopolitical game, with no concern whatsoever about the interests of the Ukrainian people,” he said, calling the failed resolution “nothing other than yet another brutal, inhumane move in this Ukrainian chessboard.”

Scared people of Ukraine fleeing to safe places

China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said all efforts must be made for a diplomatic solution and stressed that a response from the Security Council “should be taken with great caution rather than adding fuel to fire.” He warned that Western sanctions “may completely shut the door to a peaceful solution” and echoed Russian claims that it is being threatened by NATO’s expansion over the years.
“Russia’s legitimate security aspirations should be given attention and addressed properly,” Zhang said, and “Ukraine should become a bridge between east and west, not an outpost for confrontation among major powers.”
Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward called Russia’s claim that it was acting in self-defense “absurd.”
“Russia’s only act of self-defense is the vote they have cast against this resolution today,” she said.

Russian attacks on Ukraine cities

Russian forces launched coordinated missile and artillery attacks on Ukrainian cities on Saturday including the capital, Kyiv, where gunfire erupted near government buildings in the city center, military officials and a Reuters witness said. Dozens of people were wounded in overnight fighting in Kyiv, city mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Saturday morning.
As of 6 a.m. local time (0400 GMT), 35 people, including two children, had been wounded, he said. It is unclear whether he was referring only to civilians.
Ukrainian authorities have urged citizens to help defend Kyiv from advancing Russian forces who invaded on Thursday in the worst European security crisis in decades.
But even as the fighting grew more intense, the Russian and Ukrainian governments signalled an openness to negotiations, offering the first glimmer of hope for diplomacy since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion.
Ukrainian officials said Russian forces fired cruise missiles from the Black Sea at the cities of Sumy, Poltava and Mariupol and there was heavy fighting near the southern city of Mariupol.