Russia demands Security Council meeting on Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council plans to meet in emergency session Friday on Ukraine after Russia called for a public meeting on the growing crisis there.

The Russian mission to the United Nations tweeted that Russia asked for what will be the council's 13th meeting on the crisis, and the spokesman's office for the U.N. secretary-general confirmed that the open meeting would be at noon (1600 GMT).

Tensions are high after pro-Russia forces shot down two Ukrainian helicopters Friday and Ukraine launched its first major offensive against an insurgency in the east against Kiev's interim government.

The prospect for any council action is highly unlikely, as Russia holds veto power as a permanent council member.

Ukraine has accused Russia of supporting insurgents who have seized government buildings in 10 eastern cities and fears that Moscow seeks a reason to invade. Russia has stationed tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman on Friday said Ukraine's new offensive has "effectively destroyed the last hope for the implementation of the Geneva agreements" that aimed to defuse the crisis.

Ukraine is sharply divided between those in the west who favor closer ties with Europe and many Russian-speakers in the east.