UNITED NATIONS, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as other parties, to work to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine.
In a phone call with Putin, Ban "expressed his alarm about the highly volatile situation in eastern Ukraine and underlined that any deepening of the crisis would be profoundly detrimental for all concerned; hence the need for everyone to work to de-escalate the situation," the UN spokesperson office said.
A new wave of unrest has erupted in Ukraine's east over the weekend, as pro-Russia activists seized several government buildings in the cities of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov, demanding a referendum on autonomy and closer ties with Russia.
During a recent operation in the industrial town of Slavyansk, Ukrainian security forces exchanged gunfire with pro-Russia protesters, causing heavy casualties on both sides.
Ban spoke with Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchynov Monday on phone, expressing the hope that Ukraine can continue exercising restraint in its effort to de-escalate the situation and find a peaceful solution.
As to Turchynov's calling for a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday that such an operation would need to be authorized by the Security Council.
At the regular news briefing, Dujarric also said Ban consistently called for inclusiveness in the political dialogue and believed all people of Ukraine must be able to freely voice their opinions and express themselves without the threat of violence.
"The Secretary-General wanted all parties to play a role in helping to find a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine," he said.