UN chief ‘gravely concerned’ over Ukraine events

UN chief ‘gravely concerned’ over Ukraine events

Credit: Getty Images

SIMFEROPOL, UKRAINE - MARCH 01: Pro-Russian sympathizers chanting "Russia, Russia! Simferopol, Simferopol! Sevastopol, Sevastopol! Berkut, Berkut!" (Berkut is the elite paramilitary unit recently disbanded by the new Ukrainian government and responsible for many of the deaths during violent clahes recently in Kiev) hold up a giant Russian flag as they march in the city center on March 1, 2014 in Simferopol, Ukraine. Earlier in the day heavily-armed soldiers displaying no identifying insignia took up positions around the Crimean Parliament and elsewehere in the city center in what seems to be a growing military occupation of the Crimean capital. The new pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksenov, announced that he has taken control of Crimean military and security and appealed to Russia for help in maintaining peace in Crimea. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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The Associated Press

Posted on March 1, 2014 at 2:49 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is “gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation” in Ukraine and plans to speak shortly with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A Ban spokesman delivered the statement Saturday afternoon as members of the Security Council met in an emergency closed-door session on the rapidly developing events in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Ban’s statement calls for “full respect for and preservation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and demands “immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned.”

Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, told reporters on his way into the meeting, “Busy weekend, isn’t it?”

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the meeting is to determine “what justification Russia claims to have” for its de facto military takeover of the strategic Crimea region.

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