UN Envoy Cuts Short Crimea Visit After Threats

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 12:41 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
UN special envoy to Crimea Robert Serry cut short his mission to the disputed region Wednesday after he was threatened by unidentified pro-Russian gunmen and later heckled by protesters, officials said.

Serry, who had been sent to the tense Black Sea peninsula by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, was confronted by armed men outside the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea's capital Simferopol, the United Nations said.

Prevented from returning to his vehicle and warned "he should leave Crimea," Serry sought refuge in a local cafe to phone the mission and alert them and then left on foot for his hotel after his safety was assured.

He was later driven to the airport and boarded the first flight out of the region — to Istanbul.

An assistant told AFP by phone from the car on the way to the airport: "He's fine. The self-defence militias in Simferopol have guaranteed his security."

Serry was expected to travel on to Kiev.

He "will shortly return to Kiev to continue his mission, which was cut short by today's incident," UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a statement.

UN deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson, who was also in Ukraine on Wednesday, said via a video link: "He is in good shape physically but he feels threatened."

Some initial reports had spoken of a kidnapping but the United Nations quickly denied that.

Still, Sergei Aksyonov, the newly installed pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea, was quoted by Russian agency RIA Novosti justifying the threats made against Serry, saying: "We did not send them an invitation."

"They did not warn us of their arrival. The usual procedure in these instances was not followed," he said of the UN mission.

A former Dutch ambassador to Kiev who was travelling with a UN colleague, Serry had arrived only Tuesday in the tense Crimean peninsula, which has come under de facto control by Russian forces.

He had already aborted a trip to Crimea last week, saying tensions made it impossible to visit the peninsula.

Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council opened an investigation into the incident.

"This is an unprecedented incident," Andriy Parubiy, the NSDC's secretary, was quoted by Interfax-Ukraine news agency as saying in an interview with Channel 5 television.

"Even pirates in Somalia do not abduct negotiators, those who come with an observer mission and a negotiation mission," he said.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Leon Panetta: US Should Have Stayed in Iraq, Armed Syrian Rebels

Friday, 19 Sep 2014 19:26 PM

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS News that some U.S. troops should have remained in Iraq after President B . . .

Army Chief of Staff: Troops and Time Needed in ISIS Fight

Friday, 19 Sep 2014 19:01 PM

Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno said fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) will likely take more troops – and time – an . . .

Alibaba Soars 40% in Debut: 'We Want to Be Bigger Than Wal-Mart'

Friday, 19 Sep 2014 16:18 PM

Alibaba debuted as a publicly traded company Friday and swiftly climbed nearly 40 percent in a mammoth IPO that offered  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved