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Ukraine envoy says Russia plans further incursion, Moscow denies

Source: Reuters - Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:56 GMT
Author: Reuters
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GENEVA, March 20 (Reuters) - Russia may be preparing a further military incursion to Ukrainian territory, Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva told U.N. diplomats on Thursday.

"There are indications that Russia is on its way to unleash a full blown military intervention in Ukraine's east and south," ambassadot Yurii Klymenko said at a briefing on the human rights situation in Ukraine.

But a Russian diplomat in Geneva immediately dismissed Klymenko's warning.

"Russia would never invade east and south Ukraine," the diplomat, adding that President Vladimir Putin had said as much in a televised speech on Tuesday.

Klymenko described Russia's annexation as a farce, as well as unlawful and illegitmate and called for Russia to negotiate. His statement received wide support from diplomats from the United States, many European Union countries and Australia.

"Despite Russian claims to the contrary, this was never about protecting the rights of ethnic Russians and was always about one country's ambition to redraw its own borders," U.S. acting ambassador Peter Mulrean said.

"It must be clear to Russia that further provocations will achieve nothing except to further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world."

He described Russia's takeover of Crimea as aggression and an illegal land grab, and said human rights had seriously worsened on the peninsula since Russia took control.

A Russian diplomat read out a prepared statement, justifying Russia's actions so far as legal under Russian, Ukrainian and international law. (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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