3 March 2014
The South African government has called for a peaceful resolution to the escalating international political crisis in Ukraine.
“South Africa urges the protagonists in the stand-off to settle the crisis through dialogue,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Sunday, adding: “We will continue to monitor the situation and encourage international diplomatic efforts meant to produce a lasting peaceful solution.”
The Russian parliament on the weekend approved the deployment of more soldiers to the Crimean peninsula, while Andriy Parubiy, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, announced on Sunday that the Ukrainian Defense Ministry had orders to assemble all soldiers.
The new Ukrainian government in Kiev had already put its army on alert on Friday. Since then, Russian forces have effectively occupied the Crimean peninsula.
The United Nations announced on Sunday that Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson would travel to Ukraine to get an understanding of the situation on the ground.
This followed a UN Security Council meeting on the growing crisis in Ukraine on Saturday, the second meeting in two days held by the 15-member body.
“Following the Security Council’s consultations and given the developments on the ground in Ukraine, the secretary-general is dispatching Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson to the country this evening,” a spokesperson for UN chief Ban Ki-moon said.
“While in Ukraine, the deputy secretary-general will be personally apprised of the facts on the ground and will subsequently brief the secretary-general on the next steps the United Nations could take to support the de-escalation of the situation.”
Eliasson, as well as Ban, his senior adviser Robert Serry, and the Security Council have all called for calm and direct dialogue between all concerned to avoid a further escalation of the crisis.