|Russia seeks UN vote on Ukraine, grants gas respite||
Russia accused Ukrainian authorities on Monday of escalating violence against civilians in the rebel-held east of the country, even as it offered Kiev a brief respite in a dispute over billions of dollars' worth of unpaid gas bills.
According to Reuters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council later on Monday, calling for an immediate end to the violence and the creation of humanitarian corridors to help civilians escape the fighting.
In pointed comments aimed at newly elected Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, Lavrov said that Western nations had assured Russia the situation in Ukraine would improve after the May 25 election that brought him to power. Instead of that, he said, "everything is happening in exactly the opposite way".
"People are dying every day. Peaceful civilians are suffering more and more - the army, military aviation and heavy weapons continue to be used against them," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.
A fierce battle was underway on Monday in Ukraine's rebellious east after a pro-Russian militia attacked a Ukrainian border post with automatic weapons and grenade launchers in the early hours, Reuters reported.
Security sources said a force of separatists had occupied the upper floors of a nearby apartment block and were shooting into the border post on the southern edge of Lugansk, a city very close to the frontier with Russia.
"Shooting is continuing. There has been no let-up in firing for seven hours now," border post spokesman Oleh Slobodin said.
"We have 8 or 9 wounded. The attackers have five dead and 8 wounded," he said.
Another statement from the Ukrainian border service said the separatists at the Lugansk border post were sniping from private apartments and had stopped people leaving the residential block they had occupied, making it difficult for the border guard forces to return fire.
The Ukrainian army is taking part in an "anti-terrorist" operation to try to crush the rebellions in the east. Border guards said on Monday that the army had not yet reinforced to help them fend off the attack in Lugansk.
Ukraine's eastern region has been riven with separatist armed rebellion for the past two months which the Kiev government says is fomented by Russia. It says armed fighters from Russia and the Caucasus region are fighting alongside rebels who are fighting rule from Kiev.
Casualties were reported in the administration building of the city of Lugansk, eastern Ukraine, after a fighter jet attack. The assault was followed by heavy gunfire on the ground, causing panic among civilians.
At least five people were killed in the attack, according to RIA Novosti. Many wounded were trapped inside the administration headquarters, which caught on fire.
“Ukraine’s air force struck Lugansk downtown at 16.00 pm. Military aircraft made a targeted strike, deploying cluster bombs. The administration building is partially destroyed,” the government of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic said, according to RT.
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