News / Europe

    Ukrainian PM Seeks International Support at UN

    United States U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power speaks during an U.N. Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis, March 13, 2014
    United States U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power speaks during an U.N. Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis, March 13, 2014
    Margaret Besheer
    Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk appealed to the U.N. Security Council Thursday for its support to help stop Russia from annexing its Crimea region in a referendum planned for Sunday.

    Yatsenyuk told the U.N.’s most powerful organ that his country is facing the military aggression of one of the council’s permanent members – Russia.

     “This aggression has no reasons and no grounds. This is absolutely and entirely unacceptable in the 21st century to resolve any kind of conflict with tanks, artillery and boots on the ground,” he said.

    Yatsenyuk said despite Russia’s violation of a number of treaties, Ukraine still believes there is a chance to resolve the dispute peacefully and avoid the secession and annexation of Crimea this Sunday.

    Speaking in Russian he addressed Moscow’s ambassador, asking him if Russia wants war saying,  “We are looking for an answer to the question whether Russians want war. I am sure as prime minister of Ukraine -- which for decades had warm and friendly relations with Russia -- I am convinced that Russians do not want war.”

    Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin replied to Mr. Yatsenyuk during his remarks saying  “Russia does not want war and nor do the Russians. And I am convinced that Ukrainians don’t want this either. And furthermore, this is something I want to underscore, we do not see any premises to view and interpret the situation in such terms. We don’t want any further exacerbation of the situation,” said Churkin.  

    Russia’s international isolation was evident, with even its closest ally, China, having taken a firm stance in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and asserting its policy of non-interference in another state’s domestic affairs.

    Earlier Thursday, the U.S. delegation circulated a draft resolution reaffirming the principles of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence and that states that Sunday’s referendum is illegal, and urges nations to not recognize the results. The draft text does not name Russia as an aggressor nor explicitly demand it pull its troops back from Crimea.

    U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said her Russian counterpart’s remarks seemed to be about validating the referendum and annexation of Crimea.

     “This causes us great alarm, which is one of the reasons that we have circulated this resolution, in the hopes of finding a vehicle for showing the extent of Russia’s isolation as it pursues a non-peaceful path,” said Power.  

    Diplomats said they expect a Russian veto, but if Moscow’s close ally, China abstains, it would demonstrate Russia’s extensive international isolation. Several diplomats said they favored holding a vote by Saturday.  

    Prime Minister Yatsenyuk also met with U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon Thursday. Mr. Ban has repeatedly called on all parties to deescalate the situation and find a solution through political dialogue.   

    Earlier in the day Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional hearing the United States and the European Union will respond on Monday with a "serious series of steps" against Russia if a referendum on Ukraine's Crimea region goes ahead on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.

    Kerry told a congressional hearing he hoped to avoid such steps, which include sanctions, through discussions with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in London on Friday.

    Western Steps to Pressure Russia on Ukraine

    • The US authorized asset freezes and travel bans for those who have undermined Ukraine's territorial integrity
    • G7 leaders suspended preparations for G8 Summit in Sochi
    • OECD suspended talks on Russia joining the organization
    • EU suspended visa and investment talks with Moscow

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kerry discussed proposals for resolving the crisis in Ukraine during a telephone conversation on Thursday.

    Lavrov and Kerry, who are due to meet in London on Friday, discussed "the situation in Ukraine, taking into account existing Russian and U.S. proposals to normalize the atmosphere and provide for civil peace,'' the ministry said.

    Germany warns Russia

    Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia risks "massive" political and economic damage if it does not change course in the Ukraine crisis.

    In a speech to the German parliament Thursday, Merkel said Ukraine's territorial integrity is "not up for discussion."

    She also said the European Union will impose sanctions on Russia if it does not move to set up a contact group to discuss the Crimea crisis.

    Commenting on possible ways out of the crisis, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that there was "hardly any hope" for a diplomatic solution at this point if the referendum goes forward, the German news agency DPA quoted him as saying.

    He described the planned meeting between Kerry and Lavrov on Friday as "possibly the last chance."


    • An armed man, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard outside an Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye, near the Crimean city of Simferopol, March 13, 2014.
    • A Ukrainian serviceman closes a gate as an armed man, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard outside an Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye, near the Crimean city of Simferopol March 13, 2014.
    • A woman walks past a barricade as a Ukrainian flag flutters in the wind in Kyiv's Independence Square, March 13, 2014.
    • People talk about developments in Ukraine at a central square next to a statue of Soviet revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin in Donetsk, Ukraine, March 12, 2014.
    • A woman passes by posters in support of Ukraine during the International poster campaign, Kyiv, March, 12, 2014.
    • People talk in Independence Square, Kyiv, March, 12, 2014.
    • A woman holds a dog sporting shoes and a ribbon in the colors of the Russian flag outside the regional parliament building in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, March 12, 2014.
    • A member of a self-defense volunteer group, with makeshift shin guards bearing a picture of a wolf, polishes his boots in Kyiv's Independence Square, March 11, 2014. 
    • Members of a Crimean self-defense unit check the passport of a passenger at the railway station in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, March 11, 2014. 


    About-face on monitors?

    Russia has for the first time backed deployment of an OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, including Crimea, the chairman of the European rights and security watchdog said on Thursday, calling this a possible “big step forward.”

    ”The Russian Federation supported the idea of a rapid approval and rapid deployment of a special monitoring mission for Ukraine,” Thomas Greminger, Switzerland's ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters after a meeting of OSCE envoys in Vienna.

    ”This is clearly a positive development,” Greminger said. But a number of issues remained to be clarified in negotiations between the OSCE's 57 member states, he said.

    Switzerland, which currently chairs the OSCE, has proposed sending a mission of about 100 monitors to Ukraine to look into human rights, ethnic issues, security and other factors to help defuse the crisis in the country.

    Such a mission would require consensus among all members, giving Russia veto power.

    Recent attempts by OSCE monitors to enter Crimea had been blocked by uniformed armed men, presumed to have been Russian soldiers.

    Russian stocks slump

    The Russian stock market hit a four-and-a-half-year low on Thursday and is down 20 percent since mid-February. The cost of insuring Moscow's debt against default rose to its highest level in nearly two years and is up by more than a third this month.

    The crisis has already forced several Russian firms to put plans on hold for public offerings to raise cash abroad.

    Yet none of that appears to have slowed down President Vladimir Putin, who told officials of the Paralympic Games he is hosting in Sochi that Russia was "not the initiator" of the crisis.


    Some reporting by Reuters

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
        Next 
    by: Edward from: Oslo
    March 14, 2014 3:14 AM
    Russia =Nazi
    In Response

    by: Ally from: RF
    March 14, 2014 12:25 PM
    Excuse me, do not you refresh our memory - what country the soldiers planted a flag over the Reichstag in 1945? And what was the flag?)))

    by: Willis Wake from: United States
    March 13, 2014 8:57 PM
    Where in hell are we going to borrow a billion bucks. To give away.

    by: Steve from: Berkieley California
    March 13, 2014 4:28 PM
    Russia has been in the Crimea for two centuries. It's Black Sea Fleet guards its southern borders and it isn't likely all the bluster in the world from Merkel and Kerry (EU and US) will change Mr. Putin's mind. His responsibility you see isn't to the US or EU it is to Russia's interests and defense.
    The US controls Guantonamo against the wishes of the Cuban government clearly a provocation and illegal under international law. But when did that trouble us?
    We conquered Hawaii and subjugated its native populations making it a state by flying in lots of US citizens, sending missionaries and using dollar diplomacy. Today native Hawaiians are strangers in their own land. Clearly a violation of their human rights and so-called international law. The Chomorro people of Guam have lost most of the island to the US military and US interests and are a colony under military rule.
    People who live in glass houses should never throw stones.
    In Response

    by: Ally from: RF
    March 14, 2014 12:28 PM
    We defeat of Nazi Germany and twenty million Russian died that we took x voyne.Poetomu city)
    In Response

    by: Tito from: Rome
    March 14, 2014 3:17 AM
    Kaliningrad area was part of Germany before WW2. So they have a right to take it back???

    by: Dead Words
    March 13, 2014 4:05 PM
    Putin's army of paid commenters out in force as usual...
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 13, 2014 8:57 PM
    correct.

    by: Vasa from: Kiev
    March 13, 2014 2:54 PM
    I am Russian and I have been living in Ukraine for decade. I must to say that nobody wants to abuse me or kill me here. Russians are in full safety in Ukraine! Deliver us from evil Putin!!!!
    In Response

    by: Ruslan from: Russia
    March 14, 2014 2:46 AM
    Putin is one of the most respected politician of the world. What he does - defend Russian population in Crimea, which to say is majority (60%), from illegal nazist government of Ukraine. Your fatal mistake was to support the nazis but, unfortunatelly you can't recognize it..when you really realize what has happened in your Ukraine, it will be too late...your country will be lost, once again...history doesn't teach you, that's the sad fact!
    In Response

    by: Oleg from: Kiev
    March 14, 2014 1:27 AM
    Vasa is not Russian name.

    by: Teodor from: Madrid
    March 13, 2014 2:51 PM
    Russia will not stop and invade the whole territory of Ukraine. Ukrainians don't want to be part of Russia, but Russia breaches international laws by annexing Crimea with guns in arms. We must stop it! If not, EU will be first to be affected. Baltic Estonia, Latvia are next targets. Having bought Russian gas,we made it strong. I think its right time to diversify gas delivering and to reduce percentage of Russian consumption in EU. Putin is crazy. He is doing what Hitler did....
    In Response

    by: Ruslan from: Russia
    March 14, 2014 3:48 PM
    to Teodor: you have no idea what you are writing about. Try to find some real stories about what is really going on in Ukraine and you will be surprised to find out that your comparison with Hitler is more appropriate for some of the new Ukrainian leaders. It's pity to witness how EU loses its face and transforms in a union with censured media and manipulated government controlled not domestically but from US... supporting the Nazis to come to power in Ukraine... it means you have no memory and no respect for those who died during WW2.

    by: Carol Adams
    March 13, 2014 2:12 PM
    Mr. Kerry – This situation seems to be clear to everyone except you and Angela Merkel. You tried to pull Ukraine into the NATO alliance and Putin took steps to protect his fleet, which (in case you are unaware) is located in the Crimean Peninsula, which is a part of Ukraine. Putin is using a referendum to annex the Crimean peninsula. This scenario should look familiar to you. We did the same thing in Hawaii after we realized how vulnerable our fleet was over there. We made Hawaii a state and this process included a referendum. I know why the Obama administration is avoiding this obvious comparison. It puts the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency into question because of the ridiculous accusations of “birthers” who claim that Hawaii is not really a part of the USA. You need to address this and explain why these two situations are different. They are just too obviously similar.
    In Response

    by: Ally from: RF
    March 14, 2014 12:31 PM
    Why false libels written mostly anonymously???
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 13, 2014 8:20 PM
    You can try and compare apples to oranges, fact of the matter is, Putin broke international law just last week, and invaded a country without the proper authority and without any knowledge of the UN what they were doing...

    I hope the world now bitch slaps Putin economically.
    In Response

    by: Chris from: New York
    March 13, 2014 4:42 PM
    In the 19th century everyone just marched their armies into other countries and claimed land and sovereignty. After WWII the civilized world decided not to do it that way and set up rules and treaties. In 1994 Russia agreed to honor Ukraines border if it gave up it's nuclear weapons. Putin has ripped up that treaty because the government changed in Kyiv. Not like Hawaii statehood at all.

    by: Anonymous
    March 13, 2014 2:04 PM
    Folks!! The referendum will go smoothly. If the pro Russia win, you will not support it; if not you will oppose. Is that? Then, what will be the outcome? Power? Power? Power? Hooray!!power!! We will see it. Please, don't provoke other contry's right.

    by: Climp Jones
    March 13, 2014 1:59 PM
    President Obama will now combine Phone and Pen to send a threatening Text Message

    by: Thought Criminal from: California
    March 13, 2014 1:58 PM
    Resistance to the IMF Banksters will not be permitted.
    Comments page of 3
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