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Live Blog: UN Backs Ukraine Integrity


Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya speaks to the UN General Assembly on March 27.

Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya speaks to the UN General Assembly on March 27.

Summary

Final Summary For March 27

-- The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution that affirms Ukraine's territorial integrity.

-- The IMF has announced "a staff-level agreement" with Kyiv on assistance of $14 billion-$18 billion in conjunction with a reform program that will "unlock" up to $27 billion over the next two years, pending final approval next month. Tthe U.S. Congress has also passed an aid bill for Ukraine.

-- Ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko has announced plans to run for president.

-- Members of the Right Sector have been holding a demonstration outside the Ukrainian parliament building to vent their anger at the killing of prominent member Oleksander Muzychko earlier in the week.

-- Six Ukrainian military officers detained by pro-Russian troops in Crimea have been released, including Colonel Yuliy Mamchur, but five others are still being held captive.

-- Anonymous sources quoted by CNN say U.S. intelligence "concludes it is more likely than previously thought that Russian forces will enter eastern Ukraine."

-- U.S. President Barack Obama, in the keynote speech of his visit to Europe, chided Russia for its use of "brute force" in Ukraine and vowed that a determined alliance of the United States and Europe will prevail over time.


*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Kyiv
22:22 27.3.2014
Barring any dramatic developments, we're now shutting down the live blog for March 27. Before we go, we'll leave you with a brief item from RFE/RL's newsdesk on the Right Sector demonstration in Kyiv:

Members of the Right Sector movement have been holding a demonstration outside the Ukrainian parliament building.

The group gathered to vent their anger at the killing of prominent Right Sector member Oleksander Muzychko earlier in the week.

The protesters were reportedly chanting "Tribunal!" and demanding the resignation of the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

Muzychko was killed in unclear circumstances as police commandos were attempting to detain him.

Estimates of the crowd size range from several hundred to more than 1,000.
(ITAR-TASS)
21:52 27.3.2014
21:28 27.3.2014
21:08 27.3.2014
There seems to be a pretty big rally in Kyiv right now in response to the killing of prominent Right Sector member Oleksandr Muzychko:
19:55 27.3.2014
Here's a bit more detail from our newsdesk on the IMF and U.S. aid packages for Ukraine:

The U.S. Congress has overwhelmingly passed legislation to give aid to Ukraine and impose sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea.

The U.S. Senate approved the legislation by voice vote today, while the House of Representatives passed a different version on a 399-19 vote.

A final bill will have to be worked out before President Barack Obama signs it into law.

Each bill would provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to cash-strapped Ukraine.

It would also sanction those responsible for human rights abuses against antigovernment protesters in Ukraine as well as Russian officials responsible for corruption in Ukraine.

Earlier today, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) promised to loan up between $14 and $18 billion to cash-strapped Ukraine.

The loan hinges on structural reforms that Kyiv has pledged to undertake.

It will help prop up Ukraine's struggling economy following three months of antigovernment protests and Russia's annexation of Crimea.

U.S. President Barack Obama has described the IMF's multibillion-dollar pledge as a "major step forward."

During a visit to Rome, Obama said the IMF support package will "help stabilize the economy and meet the needs of Ukrainian people over the long term."
(Reuters, AP, AFP)
19:20 27.3.2014
RFE/RL's newsdesk has just issued a longer item on the vote concerning Ukraine's territorial integrity at the United Nations:
The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution on the "territorial integrity of Ukraine" declaring Crimea's recent secession vote invalid.

One hundred countries voted in favor of the resolution, with 11 against and 58 abstaining.

The 11 that opposed the resolution were Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

While Armenia voted against the resolution, Azerbaijan voted in favor. Azerbaijan says the Nagorno-Karabakh territory currently under Armenian control rightfully belongs to Azerbaijan.

Among the other countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Moldova voted in favor of the resolution, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan abstained. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan did not vote.

Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya was the first speaker at the session ahead of the vote.

He said international security agreements have been "seriously compromised" by Russia's unrecognized annexation of Crimea.

"For a month now all possible and impossible boundaries of international law, so laboriously nourished by the mankind, especially by this institution, have been ruthlessly trampled," he said. "What has happened in my country is a direct violation of the UN Charter. Many still struggle to grasp the reality. It happened in Ukraine, in the very heart of Europe; it happened in the 21st century."

Deshchytsya accused Russia of taking advantage of Ukraine's fledgling government.

"This aggression was meticulously calibrated to strike at the time when Ukraine was forming [its] inclusive government," he said. "Now, despite all odds, such a government is up and running. [The invasion] was also aimed and is still aiming to undermine [the] presidential election in my country. Let me assure you that Ukraine is determined to carry on with holding elections as scheduled on May 25."

Deshchytsya speech was followed by an address to the assembly from Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who defended his country's actions.

"Russia's stance towards the proposed draft resolution of the General Assembly is negative," he said ahead of the vote. "The draft resolution is confrontational. The draft aims to cast doubt over the Crimean referendum that has already played its historical role. It is counterproductive to dispute it. At the same time let me point out that the draft does contain a number of fair elements, for example a call to refrain from unilateral actions and rhetoric of incitement that may lead to an escalation of tension. We consider that no additional resolutions are necessary in order to heed this call."

Churkin added that l"egitimate government ceased to exist" in Kyiv since former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was "forced to vacate" the country.

The European Union's UN representative, Thomas Mayr-Harting, denounced the use of force to redraw borders and "condemns Russian actions that are in clear breach of the UN Charter."

Also speaking ahead of the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power told the General Assembly that "the resolution before us is about one thing and one thing only -- affirming the territorial integrity of Ukraine."

Unlike the Security Council, General Assembly resolutions are not subject to vetoes nor are they legally binding but they do reflect world opinion.
18:38 27.3.2014
This is just in from our newsdesk. There are some interesting names among the countries that voted against the UN resolution:
The UN General Assembly has voted on the resolution on the "territorial integrity of Ukraine" declaring Crimea's secession vote invalid.

The resolution was passed with 100 countries voting in favor of the resolution, 11 against, and 58 abstaining.

The 11 that voted against the resolution were Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

The 58 abstentions include Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, while Azerbaijan was among those who voted in favor.
18:16 27.3.2014
18:01 27.3.2014
!!! BREAKING NEWS !!!
The UN General Assembly has voted on a resolution on the "territorial integrity of Ukraine" declaring Crimea's secession vote invalid. The resolution was passed with 100 countries voting in favor of the resolution, 11 against, and 58 abstaining.
17:55 27.3.2014

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