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At UN, Yanukovych's Old PR Tells ICP He Flipped on Dec 1, Represents People

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 24 -- Amid the changes in Ukraine, its Ambassador to the UN under Yanukovych, Yuriy Sergeyev, scheduled a 3 pm press conference at the UN. He began by trashing his former boss Yanukovych, and quoting a leader from Donetsk Oblast as wanting to remain with Kyiv.

Inner City Press asked what seemed the obvious questions: why did he break with Yanukovych? And what about Crimea?

Yuriy Sergeyev gave a long answer on Crimea, saying the entire east of Ukraine wants to remain united. But he did not answer the personal question. Another reporter to her credit reminded him to answer Inner City Press' question.

Then Yuriy Sergeyev said that on December 1, when there was a "huge manifestation of Ukrainians, Americans" at his mission, he said, "I am with you." He repeated it. But one might ask: is there a video? This happened before at the UN, with the same pre- and post-coup ambassador of Mauritania.

Later in the press conference, a diplomat from Georgia tried to ask a question but was shouted down, "Media only." Earlier Yuriy Sergeyev had thanked other countries for being in the briefing room, from which in other cases, other countries' diplomats have been banned, even when it is their country being discussed.

Yuriy Sergeyev concluded: he works for no government, only for the state and its people. Sometimes it is not that clear. Watch this site.

Footnote: After the first question was taken and branded without apparent irony "on behalf of the President of the UN Correspondents Association," now known as the UN's Censorship Alliance, Inner City Press made a point of thanking Sergeyev on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, which is pressing for journalists' input into at least the criteria to select the UN officials which interface with the media. Click here and here for that. And watch this site.


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