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UN envoy forced out of Crimea by hostile pro-Russian crowd

Simferopol, Ukraine, Mar 6 (): The United Nations special envoy on Ukraine was compelled to go out of Crimea after being surrounded by a crowd and stopped by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday.

Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general of UN told newspapers that UN special envoy to Crimea Robert Serry had been stopped by unidentified gunmen outside a naval headquarters and was warned to leave Crimea. The hostile crowd was shouting “Russia! Russia!”, he said.

The UN envoy was only threatened by unknown armed men, reports from UN denied he had been kidnapped.

Robert Serry said on Wednesday that he had cut short a job to the disputed province after being surrounded by protesters and threatened by some unidentified pro-Russian gunmen.

Serry had been directed to the tense Crimea region by the United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. He was threatened by the protesters and gunmen after his visit to Ukrainian naval headquarters in Simferopol, the capital city of Crimea, he told CNN television by phone.

Serry immediately had sought refuge in a small nearby cafe along with his associate to make a phone call to the mission. It took a tense two-hour long stand-off, after that he was moved to the airport with much safety measures and boarded to the first flight out of the region to Istanbul.

The unknown men seemed to be a part of irregular, pro-Russian volunteer forces, also called as gangs. Over the past week, such forces have increased in number since the arrival of unidentified armed soldiers in Ukrainian province. These troops are extensively supposed to be Russian.

Crimea is under the control of Russian armies who held it last week, though Moscow says the “self-defence” men in uniform lacking their emblem are not under its command.

The UN envoy said the important measure needed at this situation was dialogue between the officials in Kiev and members from the Crimean peninsula, along with international consultations between Russia and the United States as well as others.