UNITED NATIONS, March 11 (Xinhua) -- UN Assistant Secretary- General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic, who is currently in Ukraine, will not go as planned to Crimea for the time-being, a UN spokesman told reporters here on Tuesday.
"Simonovic plans to travel to Lviv tomorrow," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at the daily briefing.
"Regarding travel to Crimea, he will not be traveling to Crimea given the logistical situation, especially given the fact that the airport is closed for flights coming from other regions of Ukraine, " Dujarric said.
The spokesperson noted that Crimea's main airport in Simferopol was closed to travel from other parts of Ukraine.
At present, he said, the airport and other considerations would not allow Simonovic to visit Crimea.
Simonovic went to Ukraine urgently last week at the request of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and planned to visit the East, West and South of the country, including Crimea, to evaluate the current human rights situation.
"Simonovic continued his mission to Ukraine today and is in Kharkiv," said Dujarric.
"He met with local authorities there to discuss human rights- related measures that can help to de-escalate tensions, as well as allegations regarding human rights violations," Dujarric said. "He also met with a range of pro-Russian as well as pro-Ukrainian civil society representatives."
"Simonovic is assessing the human rights situation in the region. He is also calling for respect for human rights and discussing options for the UN and international partners to assist in strengthening the capacity on the ground, where necessary," the spokesperson added.
The Ukrainian political crisis, which originated from public anger over ousted President Viktor Yanukovych's decision in November last year to put on hold an association agreement with the European Union in order to get the Russian aid, took an abrupt turn last month as a result of bloody clashes between protesters and police.
Ukraine's autonomous republic of Crimea became the epicenter of an ongoing tension in the East European country.
The Crimean parliament on Thursday voted to join Russia and a referendum on Crimea's status would be held on March 16.
MOSCOW, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday Russia had drawn up proposals for solving the Ukraine crisis within a legislative framework, while Western countries threatened further sanctions on Russia.
The proposals would "put the situation on the basis of international law" and take into account all Ukrainian interests, said Lavrov when briefing Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Full story
KIEV, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine issued an appeal to the Budapest Memorandum guarantor countries Tuesday for assistance to preserve its territorial integrity.
In the appeal, approved by the Ukrainian parliament, Kiev asked the United States and Britain to "apply all possible diplomatic, political, economic and military measures" to maintain Ukraine's independence and sovereignty. Full story