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Russia Blocks UN Statement Condemning Mariupol Attack

Russia has blocked a UN Security Council statement that would have criticized a pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist leader and condemned a recent increase in violence in eastern Ukraine.

The office of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on January 24 strongly condemning a rocket attack on the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol earlier that day that left at least 30 people dead and nearly 100 wounded.

Ban's statement also denounced the January 23 "unilateral withdrawal from the cease-fire by rebel leadership, and particularly their provocative statements about claiming further territory."

Britain proposed a Security Council statement that echoed Ban's condemnation and called for an investigation into the attacks on Mariupol but Russia rejected it.

The statement specifically named Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine.

Since January 23, Zakharchenko has announced his group would no longer negotiate a truce, was instead launching an offensive and later praised the attack on Mariupol as the "best possible monument to all our dead."

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS