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Russia delays UN meeting on Ukraine, refusing to discuss human rights

Sergey Lavrov (R), Foreign Minister of Russia, speaks to Vitaly Churkin, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations at a U.N. Security Council meeting on September 30, 2015 in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A U.N. Security Council meeting on Ukraine was delayed for nearly an hour and a half because Russia objected to discussing the human rights situation in the country’s separatist-controlled east and Crimea.

Once Friday’s meeting began, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told council members that human rights discussions should take place in the U.N.’s Geneva-based Human Rights Council. He said raising human rights was “an attempt to distract attention” from implementing the Minsk agreement that was intended to end the fighting.

READ MORE: Over 9,000 people killed in 21 months of Ukraine fighting: UN

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, the current council president, asked what Russia “seeks to hide.”

It was the U.S. that invited a senior U.N. human rights official to brief the council on Ukraine. Ivan Simonovic says more than 9,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in April 2014.

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