UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for direct dialogue between all concerned amid the growing tensions in the Crimea region of Ukraine, as the United Nations Security Council holds urgent talks on the crisis for the second day in a row.
Tensions have been mounting in recent days in Crimea, with media now reporting that the Russian parliament has approved sending troops into the region.
Mr. Ban, who is scheduled to speak to President Vladimir Putin of Russia, continues to closely follow the “seriously and rapidly unfolding events” in Ukraine, and is gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation.
“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the full respect for and preservation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
“He calls for an immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned to solve the current crisis.”
The Secretary-General's Senior Advisor, Robert Serry, today appealed to all sides to refrain from any actions that could further escalate an already tense environment in the Crimea region.
Mr Serry, who was dispatched to Kiev earlier this week by Mr. Ban, was requested to go to Crimea as part of his fact-finding mission, following yesterday's Security Council consultations on the crisis.
“I have since been in touch with the authorities of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and have come to the conclusion that a visit to Crimea today is not possible,” Mr Serry said in a statement. He added that he will now proceed to Geneva, where he will brief the Secretary-General tomorrow on the mission and consult with him on next steps.
“In Crimea, I would have conveyed, also on behalf of the Secretary-General, a message for all to calm the situation down and to refrain from any actions that could further escalate an already-tense environment,” said Mr Serry.
On Friday, the 15-member Council reviewed “with concern” the recent developments in Ukraine, which has been witnessing violent unrest for several months and last week saw the removal by parliament of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Mr Serry noted that it was clear from yesterday's Council session that the unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine is not to be called into question. “This is a time for dialogue and to engage with each other constructively,” he stressed.