Activists Hold A Pro-Ukraine Rally Outside The United Nations I AFP
United Nations: The United Nations will hold an emergency Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis, diplomats told AFP, after Russia recognized two breakaway regions there and ordered its military to act as peacekeepers.
The meeting will be held at 9:00 pm (0200 GMT) in New York, the sources said. Russia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council, had wanted it to be closed but the United States insisted it be public, the diplomats said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's recognition of the separatist republics effectively buries a fragile 2015 peace plan for the conflict, and opens the door for direct Russian military involvement.
In two official decrees, Putin instructed the defense ministry to assume "the function of peacekeeping" in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Moscow provided no details or date for any deployment, with the order only saying that it "comes into force from the day it was signed."
The request by multiple countries for the Security Council meeting is based on a letter from Ukraine that demands that its representative be able to attend, along with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she supports an emergency meeting.
"The Security Council must demand that Russia respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a UN Member State," she said in a statement.
"Russia's announcement is nothing more than theater, apparently designed to create a pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine."