"Small sparks" in Ukraine could ignite "large flames": UN chief

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The UN Secretary-General has warned against the escalation of the political crisis in Ukraine saying that "small sparks"  could become what he called "large flames."

Russia annexed the Ukrainian autonomous region of Crimea following a referendum vote that was widely condemned by the international community.

Both the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly rejected the results of the poll in which the people of Crimea voted to spilt from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

The situation in the region has remained tense.

Speaking after a Council meeting on Ukraine, Ban Ki-moon said he hoped events in the region would not divert the attention of the international community from other important issues

"At this time of heightened tensions even small sparks can large flames of unintended consequences. I am also deeply concerned that divisions in the international community over the situation could harm our ability to address other pressing concerns."

Mr Ban said that the Russian President Vladimir Putin has reassured him that no military action will be taken.

Meanwhile, the United States has urged Russia to move back its troops on Ukraine's eastern border in order to lower tensions.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

 Duration: 1'23"

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