News / Europe

UN Council Meets as International Fears Grow Over Crimea

FILE - U.N. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, far left, listens as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, far right, speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council meeting on Ukraine,  March 3, 2014, at U.N. headquarters.
FILE - U.N. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, far left, listens as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, far right, speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council meeting on Ukraine, March 3, 2014, at U.N. headquarters.
Margaret Besheer
The U.N. Security Council met on Ukraine Monday for a fifth time in 10 days, as international concerns grow that Russia is getting closer to annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region. Ukraine’s interim prime minister also may come to New York this week to seek U.N. support ahead of Sunday’s referendum.

The 15-nation Council met in a private meeting and was briefed on developments by U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman and Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev.

Council president, Luxembourg Ambassador Sylvie Lucas, told reporters after the session that many Council members reiterated the need for a de-escalation of the situation and called for respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.

She said a number of Council members said the decision of the Supreme Council of Crimea to hold a referendum this Sunday on seceding from Ukraine violates the country’s constitution and is, therefore, illegal.

France’s ambassador, Gérard Araud, warned that the situation is worsening by the day.

“The Russian army is reinforcing its presence in Crimea. The Russian army is now besieging and storming installations of the Ukrainian army," he said. "The Ukrainian [television] channels are cut. And now we have this referendum actually organized by Russia.”

He called on Moscow to enter negotiations, saying if Russia annexes Crimea it would be “extremely serious” and negatively impact international relations.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said Russia is becoming more isolated. He called on Moscow to pull back its troops and let international monitors into Crimea.

“At the same time as Russia claims to be concerned about the threats to Russian speakers in Ukraine and others in Crimea, they are not actually allowing in any international observers -- whose job is precisely to report on what is actually happening,” he said.

He said U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman and other observers who have entered Crimea say they have not seen any particular threat to Russian speakers, and that tensions are actually high because of Russia’s military actions.

Ukraine’s Western-backed interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will be in the United States this week trying to rally support for his government and the restoration of Crimea to Kyiv’s control. He is expected to meet with President Barack Obama Wednesday and come to the United Nations Thursday or Friday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his increasing alarm about the situation, saying that events in the Crimea have deepened the crisis. He urged all sides to refrain from “hasty actions and provocative rhetoric.”

Ban dispatched the head of his New York human rights office, Ivan Simonovic, to Kyiv last week. Simonovic has been holding meetings with various players and is expected to travel to the Crimea. Another U.N. envoy, Robert Serry, was threatened by armed men in Crimea last week and forced to leave the region.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid