US and Russia blocking UN plans for a global ceasefire amid crisis

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The US fears the measure could hinder its ability to prosecute military operations against terrorist groups. Photograph: Oliver Contreras/EPA

The Trump administration and Russia are blocking efforts to win binding UN security council backing for a global ceasefire to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 150,000 lives worldwide.

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The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, called for an immediate end to fighting involving governments and armed groups in all conflict areas almost one month ago. “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war,” he said.

Yet despite strong support for a universal truce from dozens of countries, including leading US allies such as Britain, France and Germany, as well as human rights groups, charities and the pope, the Trump administration is refusing to be bound by the measure.

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