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UN Security Council briefed on Ukraine crisis, urges no military confrontation

English.news.cn   2014-03-01 11:04:24
 • UN Security Council on Friday held an emergency session for a briefing on the volatile situation in Ukraine.
 • Ukrainian UN envoy Yuriy Sergeyev said "still we do not want to be in a strong confrontation."
 • More than 80 people have been killed and hundreds of others injured during anti-government protests.


by William M. Reilly

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Security Council on Friday held an emergency session for a briefing on the volatile situation in Ukraine, with both Moscow and Kiev calling for no military confrontation.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco and Ukrainian UN envoy Yuriy Sergeyev briefed the 15-member council, which held the emergency session at the request of Ukraine.

Sergeyev said after the closed-door meeting that his government "expressed a strong protest of Russian military maneuvers and demanded withdrawal immediately" from the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea, an area heavily populated by ethnic Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians.

He said Russian attack helicopters and large troop transport aircraft flew into Crimea while an unspecified number of forces advanced on the ground.

"We observed the separatism in Crimea as, in a big amount, coming from Russia," Sergeyev said. "I think we are strong enough to defend ourselves. We have a strong spiritual feeling that we are right in what we are doing."

"We protest the illegal movement, illegal presence," the Kiev envoy said, adding that "still we do not want to be in a strong confrontation."

Ukraine requested the emergency session hours after its parliament adopted a resolution calling for a Security Council meeting after gunmen took control of airports in Crimea.

On Friday, some 50 armed men carrying Russian navy flags took control of two airports in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, one day after gunmen seized the local parliament and government buildings.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his country also did not want a confrontation, adding Russian troops and equipment were operating under the 1994 Budapest accord, which allows Russia's access to its sole Black Sea port, Sevastopol in Crimea.

"We first need to think about how to bring about this political process," Churkin said, calling on Kiev to honor the Feb. 21 agreement between Ukraine's opposition and ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych before he fled the Ukrainian capital in fear of his life and was later deposed for abandoning his post.

"There were threats they would be storming the presidential residence the next morning and that was what caused him to leave the city," Churkin said of Yanukovych. "That was clear breach of (the Feb. 21) agreement."

On Feb. 21, Yanukovych and opposition leaders signed an agreement in order to end the country's political crisis, and on the next day the country's parliament voted to remove Yanukovych. An arrest warrant has reportedly been issued for his arrest.

The Russian envoy said Moscow was "prepared to discuss every approach" which can lead to Ukrainian government being "supported by a broad segment of the population."

Referring to the Russian troop and equipment movements in Crimea, Churkin said he had sought to put off the Security Council session for 24 hours to get the details, adding there were a lot of exaggerations in the media reports.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said a "mediation mission" was sought to solve the crisis, adding Robert Serry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's senior advisor and former Dutch ambassador to Kiev, could serve the role.

More than 80 people have been killed and hundreds of others injured during anti-government protests in Ukraine, which began last November to back the country's European integration and turned violent last week.

The situation in the Russian-speaking Crimea was tense and unstable, Ukrainian interim Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya said Friday, adding it was unclear "who these people are, what they want and plan to do."

Related:

EU mulls options to assist Ukrainian economy

BRUSSELS, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk over phone on Friday that the European Union (EU)'s internal work is underway on options to assist Ukraine's economic modernization. Full story

Obama warns against military intervention in Ukraine

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- President Barack Obama said on Friday that the United States is "deeply concerned" about reported Russian military movement in Ukraine and warned that "there will be costs" for any military intervention in the country.

Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be "deeply destabilizing," Obama said in a hastily arranged speech at the White House, adding that it would violate Russia's commitment to respect Ukraine's borders and would invite global condemnation. Full story

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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