UNSC to hold emergency meet on Ukraine crisis

United Nations, March 2: The UN Security Council (UNSC) will meet behind closed doors for the second consecutive day for discussing the prevailing situation in Ukraine Saturday afternoon, council president said.

The urgent council meeting will begin at 1900 GMT Saturday, Xinhua quoted the council president as saying in a message to council members as sent by the UN spokesperson’s office.

The 15-nation UN body met in an emergency session Friday afternoon at the request of Kiev’s UN ambassador to discuss the latest development in Ukraine.

The UNSC did not make any decision after its Friday consultation, but top diplomats from Russia and Ukraine told reporters here that they wanted to avoid military confrontation in Ukraine’s southern autonomous region of Crimea.

Earlier in the day, Russian Federal Council, or upper house of the parliament, approved President Vladimir Putin’s request for using armed forces in Ukraine, local media reported.

Russian legislators have asked Putin to stabilise the situation in the Ukrainian autonomous region of Crimea, reports said.

Crimea is now the epicentre of Ukraine’s ongoing crisis after some 50 armed men carrying Russian navy flags Friday took control of the two airports in the capital of Simferopol, one day after gunmen seized the local parliament and government buildings.

Crimea is a multi-ethnic region that was granted a large degree of autonomy after Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991.

Meanwhile, Ukraine Parliament Speaker and acting Ukraine President Alexandr Turchynov urged Russian naval troops to refrain from going beyond their Crimean base.

Any troop movements outside the base “will be considered as military aggression”, he told parliament.

Turchynov’s remarks came a day after Putin ordered soldiers to be ready for war games near Ukraine, the Kremlin’s boldest gesture since former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last weekend.