As diplomatic efforts to ease the crisis in Ukraine continue apace, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson met today with Ukrainian community leaders in Kiev, and will brief the United Nations Security Council by teleconference later today on the situation in the country.
The closed-door briefing will be the first time Mr Eliasson has addressed the 15-member Council since he arrived in Ukraine on Monday.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requested that Mr Eliasson travels to get an understanding of the situation on the ground and to meet with Ukrainian authorities.
That decision was made after an urgent weekend meeting of the Security Council during which both Mr Eliasson and the UN chief appealed for every effort be made to de-escalate the situation and called for direct dialogue between all concerned amid the growing tensions in the Crimea region of Ukraine.
After months of political unrest, triggered by the Government’s decision last November not to sign an agreement on broader integration with the European Union (EU), Ukraine’s capital, Kiev erupted in violent demonstrations in recent weeks, culminating with the removal by Parliament of President Viktor Yanukovych. Tensions have been mounting in the Crimea region, where additional Russian troops and armoured vehicles have reportedly been deployed.
Today in Kiev, Mr Eliasson met separately with Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kyiv Patriarchate, and with Metropolitan Antony, the deputy head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate.
In those talks, the Deputy Secretary-General underscored the role that churches can play in resolving the crisis in Ukraine by enhancing inclusiveness and promoting dialogue.
Joining Mr. Eliasson shortly in the capital city is UN Senior Advisor Robert Serry, who left Crimea yesterday after being threatened by a number of unidentified men. He had been dispatched to Crimea to take stock of the situation there.
Also due to arrive today is UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan D'imonovic, who will monitor the human rights situation in Kiev and the eastern part of Ukraine, including Crimea.