UNITED NATIONS, March 25 (Xinhua) -- A meeting between Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers came in as "a welcome sign of dialogue" as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encourages direct talks between Moscow and Kiev, a UN spokesman said Tuesday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday met with Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya in The Hague, the Netherlands, for crisis talks on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit that ran through Tuesday. The meeting is the first of its kind since Moscow's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
"The Russian foreign minister and acting foreign minister of Ukraine had met with each other, in a welcome sign of dialogue," Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, said in response to a question at a daily news briefing here. "The secretary-general, in his own diplomatic efforts, has encouraged direct dialogue between Moscow and Kiev."
Since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, the UN chief has made clear the need for all states to abide by the principles of the UN Charter, including those regarding the peaceful settlement of disputes and regarding sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. He has also been pressing all sides for a de-escalation of the situation.
Also on Tuesday, UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, returned to New York after several days of consultations in Ukraine.
The UN General Assembly is expected to take up the issue of Ukraine on Thursday, Haq said, referring to an expected meeting of the 193-member General Assembly to consider a draft resolution on the Ukrainian crisis.
Ukraine is seeking a resolution adopted by the General Assembly to reaffirm its unity and territorial integrity and to stress that the referendum in Crimea that led to its annexation by the Kremlin "has no validity."
The draft resolution, which was circulated on Monday to the 193 General Assembly members, does not mention Russia by name, but calls on all countries not to recognize "any alteration of the status" of Crimea.
KIEV, March 25 (Xinhua) -- The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Tuesday strongly condemned the attacks by the Russian troops on Ukraine's military units in Crimea.
"Ukraine's Foreign Ministry sent a categorical protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry over the attacks by the Russian armed forces on the bases and facilities of the Ukrainian armed forces and the State Border Service," Foreign Ministry spokesman Eugene Perebiynis told reporters. Full story
MOSCOW, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Russia "categorically disagrees" it has violated the Budapest Memorandum, which guarantees Ukraine's sovereignty, according to its Foreign Ministry Tuesday.
"The government in Kiev, which has come to power through an anti-constitutional coup, itself effectively blew up Ukraine's unity. The coup has destroyed Ukraine's sovereignty," the ministry said in a statement in response to the Ukrainian government claim. Full story