UN Secretary-General calls for respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity

UN Secretary-General calls for respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all parties to the Ukrainian conflict to show restraint and urged respect for Ukraine's territorial integrity, ITAR-TASS reported.

Ban called for an immediate restoration of calm and commencement of direct dialogue between all interested parties in order to resolve the crisis, his spokesperson Martin Nesirky said on Saturday, March 1.

He declined to comment on the decision of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, which allowed President Vladimir Putin to send troops to Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine and home base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet).

However, Nesirky said that Ban would get in touch with Putin to hear his assessment of the situation in Ukraine.

He said Ban wanted to talk directly with Putin to express his concern and hear the Russian president's assessment.

Nesirky said Ban would get in touch with Putin shortly.

The U.N. Security Council is to meet on Saturday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

The Security Council already met over Ukraine on Friday, February 28, where Ukrainian Permanent Representative Yuri Sergeyev urged its members to take the situation Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine) "most seriously."

The U.S. and UK permanent representatives voiced concern about the movements of Russian troops in Crimea. The Russian permanent representative replied by saying that Russia was acting in Crimea in accordance with the agreement with Ukraine on the deployment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet there.

Senior Advisor Robert Serry, who was dispatched to Kiev earlier this week by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, was requested to go to Crimea as part of his fact-finding mission, following Friday's Security Council consultations on the crisis in Ukraine.

However, Serry said on Saturday that such a trip to Crimea would be impossible at the moment. "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," Serry said in a statement. He added that he would 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," Serry said.

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