The following is a transcript of statements by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, who spoke on behalf of the Secretary-General and took a few questions on the situation in Ukraine in the Press Briefing Room, on 1 March 2014.
The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the full respect for, and preservation of, the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine. He calls for an immediate restoration of calm, and direct dialogue between all concerned to solve the current crisis.Nesirky: Good afternoon, everyone. I have a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General on Ukraine. The Secretary-General continues to closely follow the seriously and rapidly unfolding events in Ukraine, including developments in Crimea, and is gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation.
The Secretary-General will be speaking with President Vladimir Putin of Russia shortly about the situation in Ukraine. As the Secretary-General is about to fly to Europe, he has asked the Deputy Secretary-General to attend today’s Security Council session to brief members of the Council on developments in Ukraine.
And that’s what I have for you. I’m happy to take a couple of questions.
[Question]: Martin, is there any feedback from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Robert Serry from Kyiv? [. . .] Will he go to Crimea, or has he met with other leaders?
Nesirky: Well, Robert Serry intends to go to Geneva tomorrow so that he can brief the Secretary-General directly. He had wanted to visit Crimea, but this proved to be logistically difficult, and therefore he has opted to go to Geneva as initially planned, and this will be to brief the Secretary-General directly. Of course, there have been telephone conversations, including this morning, about the rapidly unfolding events in Ukraine, and I can tell you that, as I’ve said, the Secretary-General is gravely concerned and will continue to monitor this very closely.
[Question]: Just as a quick follow-up, has the Secretary-General made any statement, or [does he] feel any way, about the territorial integrity of Ukraine vis-a-vis any kind of troop movements of Russia?
Nesirky: Well, the Secretary-General has reiterated here in this statement his call for the full respect for, and preservation of, the independence, sovereignty, and territory of Ukraine. And in fact, this is something that we have heard from right across the spectrum of views on what is happening in Ukraine. There was a clear view in the Council yesterday, if not on many other matters, certainly there was a clear view about the territorial integrity of Ukraine, as I understand it.
[Question]: Do you have anything specific to say about the decision of the Russian Parliament on troops in Ukraine?
Nesirky: Look, we’ve seen the reports, but we don’t have any specific comment at the moment. At the moment, the key factor here is the restoration of calm, and direct dialogue. What we need now, on all sides in this matter, [is] cool heads and a really, a calm approach to this.
[Question]: Thank you, Martin. There are some reports that the leader of the radical opposition [in] Ukraine called for [the] leader of [the] Chechen terrorists, Dokka Umarov, to support [the] Ukrainian opposition against Russia. Does the Secretary-General have anything to say on this development?
Nesirky: Look, there are all kinds of reports, some more credible than others, floating about in cyberspace, and I think that we continue to monitor these developments closely. We’re aware of various reports, but we’re not going to comment on every individual one that pops up like that. Yes?
[Question]: One follow-up. This is official. The governor of Belgorod Region in Russia reported that there are thousands of Ukraine refugees fleeing into [. . .] this region of Russia. Does the Secretary-General plan to discuss this issue with Vladimir Putin, maybe some support [for] the refugees from the United Nations? Thank you.
Nesirky: Well, I think the Secretary-General wants to speak to President Putin directly to express his concerns, but also to hear directly from President Putin his assessment of the situation. Now, with regard to refugees, this is something that, if substantiated, would be something for the Refugee Agency to look at. I would then refer you to the Refugee Agency.
OK. If there are no other questions, thank you very much.
Source: Recording is available at