Kyiv, Ukraine

06 March 2014

Note to correspondents on the briefing to the Security Council on Ukraine by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson

In response to questions, below is a summary of Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s briefing to today’s closed Security Council meeting:

Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson briefed the Security Council this afternoon by video from Kyiv, Ukraine, on his recent mission aimed at assisting to de-escalate a dangerous situation and to assess the conditions for a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

He told Council members that he had held talks with Ukrainian authorities, including the Acting President, the Prime Minister and the Acting Foreign Minister. He also met with civil society representatives, including Orthodox Church leaders, as well as members of the diplomatic community.

Mr. Eliasson said that he had encountered a country on edge which is grappling with a series of fast-moving and serious challenges. He commended the restraint displayed by the Ukrainian people and the authorities and their efforts to maintain the calm.

While the situation in Kyiv is stable, there have been disturbing reports from some parts of the country, primarily from Crimea, the Deputy Secretary-General said. He cited examples such as blockades of Ukrainian military bases by armed elements with no insignias and attempts to intimidate international representatives, including the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor, Robert Serry.

Mr. Eliasson said that in all of his meetings in Ukraine, he had underlined the urgent need for de-escalation and for a political solution to the country's current crisis. Apart from a military de-escalation, he said that there is a need to end provocative rhetoric that has only served to heighten tensions.

Mr. Eliasson said that he had called for meaningful dialogue among all key parties, and that the United Nations remains ready to do its part to facilitate such dialogue.  He emphasized that the United Nations’ efforts are rooted in the UN Charter, in particular the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity and of the peaceful settlement of disputes. He also underlined the importance of adhering to the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Deputy Secretary-General emphasized the need for unity, diversity and inclusion in Ukraine, and the importance that all parts of the country and all segments of the population have a sense of participation in building their future.

He noted that the Secretary-General remains actively engaged on the situation in Ukraine, reaching out to key international actors on the urgent need to find a political solution.

The Deputy Secretary-General stated that the international community has been working on initiatives that will support the people of Ukraine and contribute to de-escalating the situation in the country. While in Ukraine, he consulted closely with the OSCE to determine how to the two organizations could best work in coordination to support human rights, monitor the security situation and address minority concerns, among other efforts.

He then informed the Security Council that Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Mr. Ivan Simonovic, had just arrived in Kyiv, following a request by the Secretary-General to immediately travel to Ukraine. He further informed that Mr. Simonovic would visit the East, West and South of the country, including Crimea, to evaluate the current human rights situation.

Mr. Eliasson recalled the Secretary-General’s determination to make the United Nations available to provide whatever assistance it can to help defuse tensions and assist Ukraine in the fulfilment of all UN Charter principles ¬– most notably unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and full respect for human rights.

He underscored the need for a solution that will benefit all of the people of Ukraine and the region and ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.