Friday, November 15, 2019
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UN chief urges respect for sovereignty of Ukraine

KIEV: UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on Friday the Ukrainian crisis can only be resolved through a diplomatic solution that respects the territorial integrity of the splintered ex-Soviet state.
Ban arrived in Ukraine a day after holding talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin during which he expressed his deep concern over the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
“This current crisis can only be resolved through peaceful diplomatic solutions based on the principle of the United Nations Charter, including respect for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Ban said after talks with Ukrainian acting president Oleksandr Turchynov.
“There has to be a real genuine and constructive dialogue between Kiev and Moscow,” he told a joint news conference in the Verkhovna Rada parliament.
“As I also said in Moscow, at a times like this, it is vital that all parties refrain from any provocative actions that could further exacerbate an already very tense and very volatile situation.
“Inflammatory rhetoric can lead to further tensions (such) as possible miscalculations and dangerous counter-reactions.”
The UN secretary general said he had “come to Kiev with a very heavy heart.”
“These are some of the most dramatic and difficult times in the history of Ukraine.”
Ban said a UN monitoring mission had now deployed across Ukraine, including the flashpoint mainly Russian-speaking east.
Russia’s absorption of Crimea, which was formalized by Moscow on Friday, had become “a regional and even a global issue” that was diverting world leaders’ attention away from other wars raging in places like Syria, said the UN chief.
Turchynov for his part said he had given the UN secretary general a plan to turn Crimea into a demilitarised zone.
“The military personnel of the two countries should be withdrawn outside the boundaries of Crimea, and the issue of the future of Crimea peninsula should be discussed through diplomatic channels and in a peaceful manner,” said the acting president.
“The demilitarization of Crimea will help us to stop any more developments of aggression.”
Turchynov said Ukraine would never recognize the loss of its Black Sea peninsula to Russia.
“Ukraine will never accept the occupation of its territory… and will do its best to return Crimea,” he said.