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Churkin: UN Sec-Gen must publicly discuss the use of force in Ukraine's southeast

April 25, 2014, 1:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"We shall see whether Ban Ki-moon will be able to make such a statement," Russia's UN Ambassdor said
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MOSCOW, April 25 /ITAR-TASS/. The UN secretary-general should publicly denounce the Kiev authorities’ military operation in Ukraine’s southeast, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said during a special program with Vladimir Solovyov on the Rossiya-1 TV channel.

“I called UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and proposed that he condemn in a public statement that I hope he will make the use of armed force against political opposition in the country’s east,” Churkin said.

“I explained that it is necessary to return to implementation of the Geneva Statement of April 17,” the diplomat said. “Let’s see if Ban Ki-moon can make such a statement.”

“He listened to me attentively, said that the situation is tense and he will try to think and decide what he can do in these conditions,” Churkin said.

“Of course, he can consult with other permanent representatives,” the ambassador to the UN said when asked a relevant question. “He consults with undersecretaries, his undersecretary for political affairs is an American diplomat, a former assistant secretary of state.”

Churkin said that Ban certainly “does not always say what we would like him to” but added that “he takes our position into account”.

The Geneva Statement, adopted after the April 17 meeting on Ukraine that involved Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine, in particular envisions that all illegal armed formations should be disarmed in Ukraine, all administrative buildings unblocked and all protesters except for those who committed serious crimes pardoned.

A coup occurred in Ukraine in February and new people were brought to power amid deadly riots as President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave the country citing security concerns. The Ukrainian parliament appointed its speaker, Alexander Turchinov, as acting president and approved a new government. The Verkhovna Rada also set early presidential elections for May 25.

Russia does not recognize Ukraine's new authorities as legitimate leaders.

The crisis deepened when Crimea, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities. Crimea held a referendum on March 16, in which it overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. A relevant deal with Moscow was signed on March 18.

After Crimea's reunification with Russia, which Kiev and Western countries do not accept despite Russia’s repeated statements that the Crimean plebiscite was in line with the international law, protests against the new Kiev leaders erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories, with demonstrators taking control of some government buildings and demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.

Turchinov on April 15 announced the start of an antiterrorism operation in the Donetsk Region, apparently aimed to clamp down on federalization supporters. The operation was suspended for Easter holidays but then resumed. A few protesters were reportedly killed in a clash with law enforcers and soldiers in the city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk Region on Thursday.

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