UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon flew from Moscow to Kyiv on Friday morning, 21 March.
The Secretary-General was briefed on arrival by officials from the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights on the ongoing deployment of human rights monitors in Ukraine.
He then met with the Acting President, Oleksandr Turchynov, and that was followed by a meeting with a group of parliamentary leaders from most of the major parties that are represented in the Rada.
The representatives included: Oleksander Doniy of the Sovereign European Ukraine Group; Anatoliy Kinakh, Head of the Parliamentary Group; Adam Martyniuk, Deputy Head of the Communist faction; Viktor Pynzenyk, Vitaliy Klytchko Party “UDAR”; Sergei Sobolev, Acting Head of the Parliamentary Faction of the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna; and Oleh Tyahnybok, Leader of All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda.
In his meeting, he reiterated his message for the need to find a peaceful diplomatic solution to the current crisis and for the need for Moscow and Kyiv to have direct dialogue. Moreover, he put a special emphasis on the need for Ukrainian politicians to engage in an inclusive political dialogue. He called for an end to inflammatory rhetoric that can lead to further tensions and possible miscalculations, as well as dangerous counter-reactions. Intimidation by radical elements has to be firmly prevented, he added. He told the parliamentarians he counted on all parties in Ukraine to ensure that this is the case.
He then went to the Defence Ministry and met with the Acting Minister of Defense, Ihor Tenyukh.
The Secretary-General’s message at these meetings was similar to the one that he delivered to Russian authorities the previous day. He expressed his serious concern about the tensions between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. He reiterated his own feelings that this crisis can only be solved through peaceful, diplomatic solutions based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, including the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine. He said that “there has to be a real, genuine and constructive dialogue between Kyiv and Moscow,” a message he reiterated at a press encounter with Mr. Turchynov right after their meeting.
Also, as he had said in Moscow, it is vital that there be some restraint from any provocative actions that can lead to further escalations and miscalculations, as well as there should be no intimidation by radical elements of minority groups or others. He appealed for a calming of the situation and the rhetoric.
And finally, he reiterated that the United Nations stands ready to assist in any way with the upcoming elections and the need for those elections to be transparent, free and fair so that all Ukrainians can accept the results.
In the early evening he met with civil society representatives.
On Saturday, 22 March, the Secretary-General met with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The Secretary-General commended the Prime Minister for his recent speech where he called for an inclusive political process in Ukraine. The Secretary-General also reiterated his message that only a diplomatic solution would solve the current crisis between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, based on the ideals of the United Nations Charter.
The Secretary-General also briefed the Prime Minister on his recent meeting with Russian leaders, including President Vladimir V. Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In his discussion with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, the Secretary-General said that a direct dialogue between Kyiv and Moscow is critical to reducing the current tensions.
Before departing Kyiv in the early afternoon, the Secretary-General stopped by to pay his respects at a makeshift street memorial for all the victims of the recent violence in the city.
He later flew to Amsterdam and then travelled on to The Hague in advance of the Nuclear Security Summit.