|UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky speaks during a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, on March 1, 2014. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "gravely concerned" about the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and called for "immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned to solve the current crisis," the UN spokesman said here Saturday. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)
UNITED NATIONS, March 1 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon is "gravely concerned" about the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and called for "immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned to solve the current crisis," a UN spokesman said here Saturday.
"The secretary-general continues to closely follow the serious and rapidly unfolding events in Ukraine, including developments in Crimea, and is gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement read to the press.
"He calls for an immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned to solve the current crisis," the spokesman said.
The statement came as the UN Security Council is meeting behind closed doors for the second consecutive day to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine.
"The secretary-general reiterates his call for the full respect for and preservation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Nesirky said.
"The secretary-general will be speaking with President Valdimir Putin of Russia shortly about the situation in Ukraine," he said.
As Ban is about to fly to Europe, he has asked UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson to brief the 15 council members on the fast-moving developments in Ukraine in the closed-door Security Council meeting, the spokesman said.
The Security Council did not make any decision after its Friday emergency meeting, which was held at the request of Ukraine, but top diplomats from both Russia and Ukraine told reporters here that they want to avoid military confrontation in Ukraine's southern autonomous region of Crimea.
Earlier in the day, Russian Federal Council, or the upper house of parliament, approved Putin's request for the use of military force in Ukraine, local media reported.
Russian legislators have asked Putin to stabilize the situation in Crimea, which is now the epicenter of Ukraine's ongoing crisis after some 50 armed men carrying Russian navy flags on Friday took control of two airports in the capital of Simferopol.
Crimea is a multiethnic region that was granted a large degree of autonomy after Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991.
Meanwhile, Ukraine Parliament Speaker and acting Ukraine President Alexandr Turchynov urged Russian naval troops to refrain from going beyond their Crimean base.
Any troop movements outside the base "will be considered as military aggression," he told parliament.
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