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
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    by: Kafantaris from: Warre, Ohio. USA
    March 13, 2014 1:56 PM
    “If Russia continues on the course of the last weeks it won’t just be a catastrophe for Ukraine. It would also cause massive economic and political harm to Russia.” Well said, Angela. In today's world, a country's might is measured in economic terms.
    In Response

    by: Ally from: RF
    March 14, 2014 12:34 PM
    You might be surprised, but katastroffa Ukraine already proizoshla.V fevrale.Kogda red and black flags fluttered in the UPA fascists ploschyadi and the city evolved from prekrastno garden stinking cesspool full of Nazis.

    by: Rusty from: Texas
    March 13, 2014 1:53 PM
    ... the Russians need to beware! Kerry will send them a sharply worded memo if they don't straighten up.

    by: John Nico from: USA
    March 13, 2014 1:48 PM
    Just wait, a few years from now, this situation will be in America. Politics and differing cultures, the red and blues will split.
    In Response

    by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet - Africa
    March 14, 2014 9:02 AM
    God bless you John Nico from USA! Whatever a man sows, so shall he reap! The evil that the US has been sowing in other countries would sooner than later, pay back heavily in US.

    by: E Dubb from: US
    March 13, 2014 1:15 PM
    Sen. McCain has never met a war (or potential war) he didn't love. I wish he'd put his own rear-end on the front line of any place he's willing to send our sons and treasure to. I'll buy the plane ticket and his weapon
    In Response

    by: Mark from: Virginia
    March 14, 2014 7:37 PM
    E Dubb...read up about the Forrestal fire and you will learn that it was not McCain's aircraft that accidentally fired the Zuni rocket, but an F-4 parked ACROSS the deck from McCain's A-4 which was next to the A-4 that was struck by the rocket. A lot of things happened that day, a lot of events that lead to the chain reaction of events, and it began with the transfer of old and unstable bombs that were delivered for the next day's bombing mission. Of course, given your disposition to defame and discredit, you will probably argue that McCain switched planes that day, or magically beamed from one aircraft to the other....or some other such nonsense.....and, what Navy pilot has not crashed or nearly crashed while landing on an aircraft carrier. The Navy calls carrier landings "controlled crashes".
    In Response

    by: Ally from: RF
    March 14, 2014 1:04 PM
    Suppose s respect McCain, you just respect the Vietnam War and the horrors that have undergone Vietnamese? You respect ogent Orange white phosphorus? Cassette bomb? Probably if you delve into the history of s respect nukes dropped on Japan? Whether you may be important is the fact that JP Morgan and K º sponsored by the Nazis during the war? what else makes you respect?
    In Response

    by: E Dubb from: US
    March 14, 2014 8:57 AM
    Moron? Ignorant? Not quite. Of course I know he was a Navy pilot and was shot down over Vietnam. He also crashed multiple planes during his career prior to that - including plane that fired off a hot missile and started the fire on board the Forrestal. Try to find another pilot who wasn't permanently removed from flight duty after multiple such incidents. His father was CINCPAC and he graduated at the bottom of his Naval Academy class. He was loathed by Barry Goldwater - the father of the modern conservative movement and mentor to Ronald Reagan. So what?? What did our involvement in Vietnam do for our standing in the world and to the strength of our republic? You'd think he'd have learned and wouldn't be such an interventionist. I stand by my statement
    In Response

    by: us.mil from: TX
    March 13, 2014 4:02 PM
    He already did, moron. ..... He was in a pow camp. Literally anyone else in congress could have been replaced in your statement would have been intelligent. Not that im a fan of his current political choices.
    In Response

    by: Keon from: US
    March 13, 2014 2:31 PM
    You do realize he was shot down over Vietnam and his son served in the Iraq war right? Your comment smacks of ignorance.
    In Response

    by: glen warble from: south bend
    March 13, 2014 2:18 PM
    I respect John McCain. He has seen the horrors of war first hand, and knows what a war entails. Thats more than can be said about all tge other draft-dodging politicians in tgis country.
    In Response

    by: James Smith from: US
    March 13, 2014 2:09 PM
    You're kind of uninformed aren't you?
    In Response

    by: Anthony from: US
    March 13, 2014 2:09 PM
    Funny, I think he has already done just that. He's done more than most politicians and Americans.
    In Response

    by: John from: Seattle
    March 13, 2014 1:52 PM
    While I agree the guy is trash, you do know he was a P.O.W. In Vietnam. He did his time in the service.

    by: Cynthia Falcon from: Lahaina Hawaii
    March 13, 2014 1:13 PM
    Russian versus G 7 equals natural gas hehe you Ukraine billionaires you

    by: Anonymous
    March 13, 2014 1:09 PM
    When the majority of Albanians in Kosovo wanted to go independent from Serbia NATO and US supported it. When the majority of Russians in Cremea wants to go indep the West is against it. Just saying...double standards....but i still dont like Putin

    by: Oleg from: Kiev
    March 13, 2014 1:05 PM
    Kerry and Merkel supporting Ukrainian nationalists (Fascists). During first day "new government" destroyed many monuments all over Ukraine and ban using Russian language in Crimea.
    In Response

    by: Ally from: RF
    March 14, 2014 12:39 PM
    Oleg, we remove x seh, both in the forty-fifth) Let George Ribbon stretch over seven Slavic cities of the world - we remember our ancestors and x blood. each of our family has poteri.Ne believe anyone like Russian and Ukrainians will love them forever.
    In Response

    by: us.mil from: texas
    March 13, 2014 4:07 PM
    Oleg,
    I promise you that most americans are not like kerry. What does it look like over there? What is really going on? The news only tells half the story over here. God be with you.

    by: John Wayland from: Michigan
    March 13, 2014 12:48 PM
    Putin better watch out....Kerry might launch a viral Youtube at Russia.

    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Abeokuta Nigeria
    March 13, 2014 12:39 PM
    I can remember Senator John McCain saying during the killing of Georgian solders by Russian forces that we were all Georgians and noting much was done after the breakaway it region, Russia needs to be democratized by force or the international community will continue facing such aggressiveness.
    In Response

    by: Ally from: RF
    March 14, 2014 12:42 PM
    I am afraid that you are a victim of propaganda and do not know the truth about the war, or rather it is even difficult war nazvat.Eto disgrace to Georgia on vsegda.Sprosite any Asetina.

    by: Anna from: Kiev
    March 13, 2014 10:30 AM
    Russia is heading its troops to northern and eastern borders of Ukraine. NATO,I hope,knows about it. Please help
    In Response

    by: Ally from: RF
    March 14, 2014 12:45 PM
    Anna not to write, we do not beat fools. But here's your UNA0 UPA-UNSO can dig their own mogilu.Dlya all well-meaning citizens of Ukraine have adequate only bottom-opastnost kriziss that you give your girlfriend a new government-Evroppa.No and we'll give you money.
    In Response

    by: Carol Adams
    March 13, 2014 2:09 PM
    NATO does know and that is the problem. Now the US is bound to respond militarily to Angela Merkel's folly.
    Comments page of 3
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