Friday, 6th March 2015

Ukrainian parliament calls for U.N. meeting to discuss situation

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The Ukrainian parliament called on the U.N. Security Council on Friday to hold an emergency meeting to discuss "topical problems" in the crisis-torn country, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported.

The parliament passed a resolution, calling for a U.N. session to consider the growing tensions in the East European country related to separatist activities in the Russian-speaking Autonomous Republic of Crimea in southern Ukraine.

In its resolution, the parliament also demanded Moscow stop alleged "violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity" and "not support separatism".

The resolution refers to the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which guarantees Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Under the agreement, the United States, Russia and Britain are the guarantors of Ukraine's sovereignty and they may intervene when conflicts in Ukraine arise.

The parliamentary resolution asked the guarantors to hold immediate consultations with Kiev to relieve tensions and restore mutual trust.

On Friday, some 50 armed men carrying Russian navy flags took control of the two airports in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, one day after gunmen seized the local parliament and government buildings.

Currently, the situation in Crimea is tense and unstable, interim Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya said Friday, adding it was unclear "who these people are, what they want and plan to do."

Ukraine has called on Russia to hold bilateral talks on the situation in Crimea, but has not received any reply from Russia, Deshchytsya told a press conference.

Ukraine hopes the Crimea issue will be solved through negotiations and Russia can understand Kiev does not have much time to deal with the crisis at this juncture, Deshchytsya said.

Meanwhile, interim Interior Minister Arsen Avakov accused Russian naval forces of taking over a military airport near the port of Sevastopol, where the Black Sea fleet has its base, and other Russian forces of seizing Simferopol's civilian international airport.

"I consider what has happened to be an armed invasion and occupation in violation of all international agreements and norms," Avakov said on his Facebook page, describing it as a "provocation" and calling for talks.

Russia, however, denied any involvement in the military airport action. "No Black Sea Fleet units have moved toward (the airport), let alone taken any part in blockading it," Interfax quoted a spokesman for the fleet as saying.

Moscow has raised a security alert in borders with Ukraine, increasing fighter jet patrols in the area.




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