UN offers to mediate over the Ukrainian political crisisListen /
The United Nations is ready to offer any assistance which would lead to the peaceful resolution of the political crisis in Ukraine.
Speaking in Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the restoration of peace in Ukraine and urged Russia to refrain from any acts or rhetoric that could further escalate the situation.
The Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Monday.
Mr Ban called for the full respect for and preservation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
“We will discuss how the United Nations can work together with the Russian Federation and Ukraine authorities and the OSCE, European Union and other partners to first of all, de-escalate the situation and how we can promote direct dialogue between authorities in Ukraine and also Russia. When I spoke to President Putin over the telephone last Saturday I urged him to address this issue by engaging directly with Ukraine's authorities. what will be the better or best way to first of all to defuse this tension. It is important that both sides should lower their temperature, refrain from making rhetoric and engage in a dialogue.”
But in a statement to the UN Human Rights Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied his country had invaded Ukraine by sending troops to the Crimean region.
Mr Lavrov said the troops will remain in the region until the until the normalization of the political situation in Ukraine
"This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots and ensuring human rights especially the right to life. Those who are trying to interpret the situation as a sort of aggression and threatening sanctions and boycotts, these are the same partners of ours who consistently have urged their political forces to refuse dialogue and ultimately have polarized Ukrainian society. We call up on them to show responsibility and to set aside geo-political calculations and to put the interest of Ukrainian people above all."
United Nations Deputy-Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Eliasson, is in Kiev for talks with the Ukrainian authorities.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.