Russia is urging the U.N. Security Council to call for a "humanitarian pause" in the conflict in Yemen to help diplomats and civilians caught in the fighting between Shiite rebels and supporters of the country's beleaguered president.

Russia called an emergency meeting of the council on Saturday and diplomats said it circulated a draft resolution seeking a break in fighting on humanitarian grounds.

Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told reporters as he headed into the closed meeting that a pause is "very important" to help diplomats and civilians caught in the war.

Britain's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Peter Wilson expressed regret for any civilian casualties but said Britain continues to support Saudi-led military action against Houthi Shiite rebels.

Houthi advances in southern Yemen have created turmoil in the country.