Crimea taken off UN envoy's travel agenda: spokesman

11th March 2014, Comments 0 comments

A UN envoy traveling in Ukraine will not go as planned to Crimea because of logistical and security concerns, a spokesman said Tuesday, after pro-Russian militants there took control of the airport.

Ivan Simonovic, the global organization's assistant secretary-general for human rights, traveled to Ukraine last week, making a stop in Kiev, before traveling on to Kharkiv, where he is at present.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, however, that travel to the Black Sea peninsula currently under the control of Russia-backed authorities has been taken off Simonovic's agenda for the time being

Pro-Kremlin militants on Tuesday ordered a suspension of all flights in or out of Crimea's main airport in Simferopol except those connecting to Moscow.

"Mr Simonovic will not be traveling to Crimea given the logistical situation and especially the fact that the airport is closed to flights coming from other regions of the Ukraine," he said.

"Currently the logistics do not allow us to fly to Crimea and we are looking at the overall security issue," the spokesman said, adding that officials "are taking things one day at a time."

Dujarric said that in Kharkiv, Simonovic "met local authorities to discuss human rights-related measures that could help de-escalate tensions," and plans to travel on Wednesday to the city of Lviv in western Ukraine.

Pro-Moscow authorities who have seized control in Crimea and are seeking to join with Russia, have taken a number of steps in recent days to isolate the region from the rest of Ukraine and control entry points.

© 2014 AFP

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