The UN Security Council has held an “urgent” meeting to discuss the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, asking all political actors in the strife-torn country to exercise maximum restraint and resolve issues through inclusive dialogue.
“The Security Council…reviewed with concern the recent developments in Ukraine,” Raimonda Murmokaite, Permanent Representative of Lithuania, which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation body for February, said.
Speaking to reporters after the UNSC consultations, Murmokaite said the Council had been briefed by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
“Support was expressed for the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The Council agreed that it was important that all political actors in Ukraine exercise maximum restraint and called for an inclusive dialogue recognising the diversity of the Ukrainian society,” she said.
The Council held closed-door consultations at the request of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN, which appealed in a letter to the Council President for an “urgent” meeting “due to the deterioration of the situation in the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, Ukraine, which threatens the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
Following the meeting, Ukraine’s UN ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev accused Russia of illegally sending military planes and attack helicopters and said his country was strong enough to defend itself.
“We are strong enough to defend ourselves,” he said outside the council chamber.
American Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the US is “gravely disturbed” by reports of Russian military deployments into the Crimea.
“The United States calls upon Russia to pull back the military forces that are being built up in the region, to stand down, and to allow the Ukrainian people the opportunity to pursue their own government, create their own destiny and to do so freely without intimidation or fear,” she said.
Last week, Members of the Ukrainian Parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych, and an arrest warrant has reportedly been issued for his arrest.
The move came after more than 100 people were killed last week in the latest wave of deadly clashes in Kiev.
Amid the rapidly unfolding events in Ukraine, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon has called for an inclusive political process to enable the country to emerge from the crisis, one which reflects the aspirations of its people and preserves its unity and territorial integrity.
The Secretary-General has dispatched Robert Serry to Kiev as his Senior Advisor to assure all citizens of Ukraine of the UN’s support and also convey that he expects all key international actors to work collaboratively to help the country during the crisis.