UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The U.N. Security Council is discussing a possible resolution that would reaffirm Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and address Sunday’s referendum on whether its Crimean Peninsula should become part of Russia, a council diplomat said Wednesday.
The diplomat said the resolution would aim to show the strong opposition in the U.N.’s most powerful body to a Russian takeover of the pro-Russia Crimea – even though permanent council member Russia is virtually certain to veto any resolution.
Another U.N. diplomat said supporters of the resolution also hope that China, a close ally of Russia which has spoken out in favor of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, would abstain rather than join Russia in vetoing a resolution.
Council members have also been discussing whether a resolution should be voted on before the referendum or after it, the second diplomat said.
Both diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because private consultations are still taking place among the 15 council members.
Russian forces have secured control over Crimea, and Russia’s parliament has given President Vladimir Putin permission to use the military to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine. Ukraine’s government and Western nations have denounced Sunday’s referendum as illegal and warned Russia against trying to annex Crimea.
The U.N. diplomats said Ukraine’s new prime minister will brief the Security Council at an open meeting Thursday afternoon.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will travel to New York from Washington, where he met President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday, the diplomats said.
Yatsenyuk is expected to reiterate to the council that Sunday’s referendum in Crimea is illegal under the country’s constitution, and to reassert Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Diplomats said Ukraine is also planning to take Russia’s occupation of Crimea to the U.N. General Assembly next week, where there are no vetoes.
While Security Council resolutions are legally binding, resolutions approved by the 193-member assembly are not, though they do reflect world opinion.
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