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EXCLUSIVE: UN issues stark warning against arming Ukraine protesters

April 15th, 2014
03:57 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

“Whoever arms protesters can be held accountable for potential tragic consequences.”

That is the stark warning issued on Ukraine by the U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“What is at the moment, I would say, most important, it is to prevent arming of protesters and transforming them into paramilitary troops.”

U.N. releases report on Ukraine

Simonovic is the author of a new U.N. report, out Tuesday, that details the protests and incursions that lead up to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The report comes as worried residents and onlookers around the world shudder at the similarities between Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month and what is happening today in eastern Ukraine.

In Crimea, Russia said its actions were based partly on the basis of protecting ethnic Russians.

“We identify some cases of people being harassed because of being close to former political establishment and President Yanukovych – a number of them being Russian-speaking or Russian themselves.”

“But,” Simonovic said, “they were neither widespread nor systemic.”

Far from being fair, the Crimea referendum on joining Russia was peppered with “many reports of vote rigging,” the report says.

“The activities of the civil society were impeded,” Simonovic said. “There were some arrests, some enforced disappearances, cases of torture. We still have some missing persons.”

And far from being a spontaneous outpouring of fear and loathing for Ukraine, the report says that Russian propaganda played a large role in the move.

The cases of harassment of Russians was “overblown by propaganda,” Simonovic said.

The “propaganda was used to spread a feeling of fear and insecurity. It had significant impact in Crimea and we are witnessing something similar in eastern Ukraine.”

For example, he said, the propaganda involved cutting off television channels from Ukraine.

“It was an attempt to have a monopoly of information.”

“There were some unfounded rumors that were spread about trains coming filled with extremists, well-armed, and wishing to persecute Russian population. That has contributed to create the climate of fear and insecurity.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Louis

    Please, these idle threats. Syria used Weapons of Mass Destruction yet again and the United Nations as well as the Obama Administration did nothing.

    April 16, 2014 at 4:10 am | Reply
    • pianki

      Yes you are correct. The western biased UN said no such warning about arming the Libyan, Syrian "freedom fighters". They mentioned nothing when France use force along with Obama demonizing against democratically elected Gbabo in Cote d' Voire. The list can go on and on. Thanks goodness for the internet where one can research for themselves for then truth.

      April 16, 2014 at 10:14 am | Reply
  2. aethweth

    q34.

    warning

    you may be watched
    do usa&israel use the internet(facebook,youtube,twitter, chat rooms ..ect)to collect informations,can we call that spying??
    they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,location&sometimes political point of veiw?!?!
    do they record&analyse everything we do on the internet,,can they harm you using these informations??
    تحذير قد تكون مراقب
    هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه (فيس بوك,يوتيوب,تويتر,غرف الشات....الخ) للتجسس؟
    warning you may be watched
    do usa&israel use the internet(facebook,youtube,twitter, chat rooms ..ect)to collect informations,can we call that spying??
    they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,location&sometimes political point of veiw?!?!
    do they record&analyse everything we do on the internet,,can they harm you using these informations??
    تحذير قد تكون مراقب
    هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه (فيس بوك,يوتيوب,تويتر,غرف الشات....الخ) للتجسس؟
    warning you may be watched
    do usa&israel use the internet(facebook,youtube,twitter, chat rooms ..ect)to spy??
    do usa&israel use the internet 2 collect informations,,can we call that spying??
    they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,location&sometimes political point of veiw?!?!
    do they record&analyse everything we do on the internet,,can they harm you using these informations??

    April 16, 2014 at 9:34 am | Reply
  3. Western Propaganda

    What did they say about arming jihadi cutthroats by the US regime again?

    April 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  4. RLTJ's

    Ukraine appears to be in for more troubles. Right, Ukrainians are better if they are left alone by themselves, no outside intervention whatsoever. That cannot be reality. Because West see Russia as involved, while Russia sees it the other way around.

    Ukrainian rebels probably will push for a Crimea like cecession than push for a whole Ukraine liberation which will cost more.

    April 17, 2014 at 9:55 am | Reply
  5. Bukar ali

    Oooo! West you are always serving you interest but your are claiming you are doing right thing

    April 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  6. Suska

    They didn't say anything about Kyiv cutting off Russian television stations in the east or SENDING IN TANKS, harassment, beating and prosecution of Party of Regions candidates, inflammatory statements made in parliament by ultra-nationalists. Kyiv has repeatedly denied the real dangers posed by these armed ultra-nationals who patrol the streets of Kyiv with the blessing of the interim government and denounced this as Russian fear mongering and propaganda -yet there are ongoing incidents of these people being violently out of control.

    Instead we hear about "pro-Russian terrorists" – reports from SBU of hostages and bombs in Luhansk that were later proven false, sightings and photographic images of "green men, Russian agents, supposedly proof although easily manufactured, repeated references to Russian troops stationed along the border poised to invade, nothing about the increased presence of NATO in the Black Sea, ostensibly to "reassure our European allies" while they are clearly there to escalate tensions and challenge Russia. Pravy Sektor attacked at a pro-Russian checkpoint and 3 were shot (probably due to Dnienopetrovsk newly appointed oligarch governor Kolomoisky's bounty on "Moskal"). Instead we hear about "Russian agents posing as Pravy Sektor as a provocation.

    The UN is obviously biased. They have lost all credibility. But what can one expect from an organization whose leader Victoria Nuland can phone up and prevail upon to serve the US agenda? That says it all.

    April 22, 2014 at 6:45 am | Reply
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