UN Security Council Emergency Meeting as Ukraine ‘Teeters on the Brink’

Written by | Monday, April 14th, 2014

UN Security Council that held an urgent, previously unscheduled meeting to discuss the worsening crisis in Ukraine Sunday night traded strong condemnations and accusations. Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Luxembourg today (April 14) to discuss the escalating crisis in eastern part of Ukraine which saw groups of pro-Russian men armed with automatic weapons taking control of government buildings, including the police headquarters in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, 150 km from the Russian border. In response to the evolving crisis, Ukraine’s acting President, Oleksandr Turchynov, announced a full-scale operation involving the army that would be launched in the east, pledging that he would not allow a repetition of what happened in Crimea which was annexed by Russia last month.
During the emergence UN Security Council meeting, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, set the tone for discussions, saying that Ukraine “teeters on the brink” while stressing that “it is not just Ukraine that will suffer from a scenario where the likelihood of further bloodshed and violent clashes grows by the hour.” Ukraine and its allies blamed Russia for orchestrating the unrest, while both sides agreed the situation is dangerous and should not be allowed to spin out of control. “Further escalation of this must be swiftly stopped,” said Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the UN, and added that “it is the West that will determine the opportunity to avoid civil war in Ukraine.” Stressing that “this instability was written and choreographed in and by Russia”, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, warned that “the lives of innocent civilians are at risk yet we are being bombarded by Russian disinformation and propaganda, while the Ukrainians are being confronted by incitement and violence.”
The UN SC meeting was held the same day that Ukraine acting President issued a promise of amnesty for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine but warned that anyone further supporting the takeover of government buildings would be held responsible for their actions. During the meeting, Ukraine’s UN Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev vowed not “to let the Crimea scenario repeat in eastern Ukraine,” while warning that Kiev is readying a counterinsurgency plan to strike the “armed terrorists.” Sargeyev also stressed that “we demand to leave us in peace. It’s really the final warning cry.” At least one Ukrainian soldier was reported killed in clashes between pro-Ukrainian crowds and pro-Russian separatists. Kiev squarely placed blame for the unrest and the ensuing bloodshed on Russia that was accused by the US of fomenting the separatist unrest in its neighbor’s eastern part as a pretext for military intervention. Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, is to meet this week with foreign ministers from the United States, Russia and Ukraine in Switzerland to discuss efforts to de-escalate the situation. In a written statement, Ashton urged Moscow “to call back its troops from the Ukrainian border and to cease any further actions aimed at destabilizing Ukraine.”

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