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Ukraine, Russia exchange fire at UN meeting

English.news.cn   2014-03-14 10:05:31

by William M. Reilly

UNITED NATIONS, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine and Russia were locked Thursday in a crossfire at a UN meeting, as Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk promised to tell his country that Russia was the only UN Security Council member that did not support the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

"My country has faced a military aggression of a neighboring country which is a P5 (permanent five, veto-wielding) member," Yatsenyuk told the council, referring to Russia.

"This aggression has no reason and no ground. This is absolutely and entirely unacceptable in the 21st century to resolve any kind of conflict with tanks, artillery and boots on the ground."

At the sixth Security Council meeting on the Ukraine situation in the past two weeks, Jeffrey Feltman, UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, briefed the UN panel on the failure to find "de-escalation of tensions in accordance with the UN Charter."

Kiev had been racked by months of protest against President Viktor Yanukovych's decision last November to put on hold an association agreement with the European Union to get Russian aid. Yanukovych signed an accord on Feb. 21 with the opposition, which called for early elections. But days later he was ousted by the parliament and had to flee to Russia.

Since then, Crimea, a pro-Russian peninsula in the country's southeast, became the center of the Ukraine crisis. Kiev had been accusing Moscow of exacerbating the situation by increasing troop movements in Crimea, which is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Ukraine faced the threat of splitting up after the Crimean parliament adopted a declaration of independence from Ukraine. The status would be put to Sunday's referendum.

Kiev described the referendum illegal, saying it violated the legal procedures established by the Constitution.

The world's seven most industrialized countries rejected the decision of the Crimean parliament.

Apart from the crossfire at the UN Security Council meeting, Yatsenyuk struck a reconciliatory note. Kiev believed there is a chance for peace and asked Russia to pull back and start real talks so that the two countries could be "real partners," Yatsenyuk told the council.

Meanwhile, Russia denied intention to aggravate the situation in Crimea.

"Russia does not want war nor do the Russians, and I am convinced that Ukrainians don't want this either," Russian envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said. "We do not want any further exacerbation of the situation."

He went on to say that Russia was not responsible for the crisis. Those responsible, he said, were violent protestors.

Editor: An
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