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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (front R) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (front L) meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
United Nations envoy Robert Serry was briefly held against his will at a café in the Crimean city of Simferopol. The café door was blocked by pro-Russia men in military uniform. At some point, Serry agreed to leave Crimea according to the ITV reporter he was with at the café.About 40 pro-Russia demonstrators arrived, chanting "Russia" and "Putin." Clearly coordinated with the men in uniform, they created a corridor through which Serry was brought into a waiting car. At least one of the militia member was in the car.
The car was driven straight to the airport. For approximately 15 minutes, Serry remained in the car as a group of pro-Russian men talked with him. They eventually escorted Serry and his staff into the airport terminal.Throughout his time at the airport, pro-Russian men (not in uniform) created a barrier between the media and Serry's car.Serry was escorted into the business lounge, an airport representative told Al Jazeera America he is leaving at 9:30 pm local time (2:30 pm ET). The only flight that leaves at the time travels to Istanbul, but we have not confirmed with the UN that he has specifically agreed to Istanbul.Inside the business lounge, men in militia uniforms block the door, keeping approximately 15 cameras outside.A UN representative briefed reporters at UN HQ in New York and said Serry visited the naval headquarters in Simferopol before being threatened by unidentified people, some of them armed, who told Serry to leave and go to the airport. Sserry initially refused. The UN representative denied that Serry was kidnapped, but said that Serry was 'threatened'.
We believe that the threats to Russia, which we have heard in public statements by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, with regard to the latest events in Ukraine and Crimea, are unacceptable. Without taking the trouble to understand the complicated processes in the Ukrainian community, and assess the situation, which keeps deteriorating after the forceful seizure of power in Kiev by radical extremists, in an objective way, the Secretary of State is operating with “cold war” methods proposing to “punish” the Russian Federation, instead of those who were the builders of this coup d’état.At the same time, they maintain silence on the fact that the United States and their allies turned a blind eye on the atrocities of the militants in Maidan, their mistreating of political opponents and plain civilians, the violent Russophobia and anti-Semitism, the besmearing of the memory of the heroes of the Great Patriotic War. Washington has also ignored that the newly-created Kiev regime trampled on the agreement of the 21 February, which was signed by the German, French and Polish foreign ministers, and formed a “government of champions”, having actually announced a war against the Russian language and everything associated with Russia. Allies of the west have now turned into being open neo-Nazis, who destroy orthodox temples and synagogues.
Russia’s position has always been and is, consistent and open. If Ukraine is just a territory for geopolitical games for individual western politicians, then for us it is a fraternal country, with which we have many ages of shared history.
Russia is interested in a stable and powerful Ukraine, where the legal rights and interests of the Ukrainians, our compatriots and all nationals are enforced. Our measures are adequate and absolutely legitimate in the extraordinary conditions, which were not created by us, when the life and security of the residents of Crimea and the south-eastern regions are in real danger because of the irresponsible and provocative actions of Banderovites and other ultranationalist elements. We are for a faster return of the situation in Ukraine to normality, on the basis of the agreement of the 21 February, including the formation of a legitimate national unity government considering the interests of all political forces and regions of the country.