UN official on Monday said in an emergency session of the UN Security Council that the situation in Ukraine has seriously deteriorated, describing the crisis as “more combustible than ever.??

The Assistant UN Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, made the statement at the council?s formal meeting, requested by Russia.

He said “there have been at least five new cities in eastern Ukraine targeted by uprisings and seizures of government buildings in the last 24 hours.??

The council meeting was held only hours before a deadline set by Kiev for pro-Russia separatists to disarm by Monday or face a “full-scale military operation.??

“UN monitors have reported a consistent reinforcement of barricades and armed civilians on both sides,?? Fernandez said, adding that machine guns and sniper rifles were sighted.

He said that the exact number of casualties of the skirmishes remained unknown, calling for “maximum restraint?? on all sides and constructive dialogue between Kiev and Moscow to de-escalate the situation and address all differences.

Also at the meeting, Russian ambassador, Vitally Churkin, rebuffed the claims that Moscow was behind the violence and said that Kiev must stop the war with its own people.

Churkin also urged the EU and the U.S. to disassociate from the neo-Nazis and stop the use of force against the Ukrainian people.

“It is the West that will determine the opportunity to avoid civil war in Ukraine,?? he said.

U.S. Amb. Samantha Power said that it was Russia rather than the U.S. that had escalated the situation.

“It is hard to reconcile the behaviour, the propaganda and the military actions of the Russian Federation with this appeal for diplomacy and de-escalation,?? she said.

China said that it hoped relevant parties to keep calm, exercise restraint, and avoid further deterioration of the situation, and called for political and diplomatic settlement of the issue.

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