UN envoy confronted by pro-Russian forces in Crimea

5 March 2014 19:34

Robert Serry, a special representative of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was blocked in Simferopol, Crimea, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the media.

“He was met outside the main [naval] headquarters by a number of unidentified men who were saying that he should leave Crimea and go to the airport,” Eliasson said. After that confrontation, Serry sought safety in a vehicle, but for unspecified reason the vehicle was unable to leave the scene, prompting Serry to travel to his hotel by foot.

A group of people who call themselves members of the self-defense of Crimea first blocked Serry's car and forced him out of it. They drove the U.S. envoy away from the headquarters of the coastal defense of the Ukrainian Navy, and were pursuing him on the street. Serry took refuge in a coffee shop, located nearby. Then the men holding Russian flags and chanting pro-Russian slogans blocked the exits of the shop.

Eventually, journalists and several people in camouflage made a corridor through which the envoy got to a minibus, on which he was able to leave.

Serry was to give a press conference on Wednesday evening but cancelled it due to the incident.