UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in Moscow on Thursday March 20 for talks over the situation in Ukraine. He plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other high-placed officials, the UN press service reported, ITAR-TASS reported.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president, confirmed to Itar-Tass that the meeting with the UN secretary general would take place.
Ban Ki-moon is expected to arrive in the Russian capital on Thursday morning. He will stay in Moscow one day before leaving for Kiev, where he will hold negotiations with Ukraine's acting President Alexander Turchinov and Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, appointed by the Verkhovnaya Rada /parliament/. The UN secretary general plans to stay in Ukraine about one day.
The key objective of his trip is to launch direct Russian-Ukrainian dialogue, the UN press service said.
"(Ban) wants to build a constructive dialogue ... between Moscow and Kiev aimed at agreeing on specific measures that will pave the way to a diplomatic solution," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.
Ban Ki-moon believes that the international community stands at crossroads of further development of the situation around Ukraine. "He believes that although matters have been difficult in recent days, the path towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis is still open," Haq added.
At a news briefing, he refrained from comments on the incident in Simferopol in which a Ukrainian serviceman and a Crimean self-defence fighter were killed in sniper fire.
In the recent weeks, the UN secretary general has repeatedly urged all parties to refrain from hasty moves and provocations.
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council met over the situation in Ukraine for the eighth time this month. First Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Eliason and Ban Ki-moon's assistant for human rights Ivan Simonovic reported to the UN SC members on the situation in the country. Simonovic had spent about a week in Ukraine, but had been unable to visit Crimea.
Ukraine requested a session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday but it was postponed because of the Security Council meeting. Earlier, reports said Kiev and its supporters were planning to pass a resolution at the General Assembly by securing a simple majority of votes in support of the document.