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Ukraine Debate Ends in Tit for Tat, Murky on Copters & Press Protection

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 28 -- The Ukraine session of the UN Security Council on May 28 ended with a series of replies between Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin and Ukraine's Yuriy Sergeyev.

 Finally Council president for May Oh Joon of South Korea said, this is a meeting of 15, can't let two go back and forth this way. But what then was the purpose of the meeting?

   It began with UN official Jeffrey Feltman calling the 60% turnout “strong,” and saying that the UN “is unable to determine the veracity of the images” of UN-marked helicopters in Ukraine.

   Inner City Press has asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about tail numbers, but no response. Likewise, no answer from the UN to the request for an investigation of the May 2 killings in the Trade Union building in Odessa.

   Lithuania's Permanent Representative spoke of the killing of “a young Italian journalist” -- without mentioning the Russian national, Andrey Mironov, who was working with him and also killed. What kind of “protection of journalists” is this?

  France's Deputy Permanent Representative Alexis Lamek -- outgoing Perm Rep Gerard Araud, slated to leave in July, is said to be on vacation -- argued that the far right got very few votes in Ukraine's May 25 election.

  One wag replied, France knows about far right, given the European parliament elections there. And what of the demolition of migrants' shelters in Calais, of which Inner City Press asked Dujarric at the May 28 noon briefing. What is the UN doing about that? Nothing, apparently. And so it goes at the UN. 

Background: On May 25 amid voting in Ukraine, Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his interpreter Andrey Mironov were found dead near the village of Andreevka outside Slavyansk.

  Rocchelli had been taking photographs, for example of children seeking protection from shelling in a basement in Slavyansk's Cherevkovka neighborhood.

  Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini confirmed the deaths; another photographer who was traveling with Rocchelli and Mironov said they were hit by mortar fire as they were taking shelter in a roadside ditch; it's reported the journalists came under shelling from Ukrainian troops late on May 24.

   If this happened say in Syria, what would the reaction be? What will the reaction be now?

  On May 23 when Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev held a press conference two days before the elections, Inner City Press began by asking him why chocolate magnate Petro Poroshenko had not agreed to participate in debates. (On May 25, Poroshenko is pictured voting, here.)

  Sergeyev replied that he understands Poroshenko would, if there is a second round.

  Then Inner City Press asked Sergeyev about the “UN” painted helicopters shown by LifeNews as being in Ukraine, and about the two LifeNews journalists detained.

  Sergeyev said he contacted his government's defense department and was assured that helicopters that serve for pay in UN peacekeeping mission returned painted white but with the UN insignia “erased.” He said the filming was not in Ukraine.

  Inner City Press asked if it was in a UN peacekeeping mission why the soldiers around the copter were in camouflage and not UN blue helmets. This has not been answered.

  On the LifeNews journalists, Sergeyev said they had confessed to not being “pure journalists” and had revealed Ukraine military positions.

  Inner City Press asked if that wasn't always a possible charge of war reporters. It might also be asked which others detained while engaged in acts of journalism, sometimes, are not “pure journalists.”

  The Free UN Coalition for Access supports these journalists and continued to ask about their fate, as it asked the UN's Ivan Simonovic this week.

  The two have now been released, and have said they were held with sacks over their heads, arms and legs tied.

  On a second round of questions on May 23, Inner City Press asked about the four or five investigations of the May 2 murders in Odessa that Simonovic had described. Sergeyev said Simonovic must have been referring to four or five versions of events, because there are only Ukrainian investigations.

  Inner City Press at the day's noon briefing asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric how many investigations of Odessa there are, and if one involving the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons is being considered. The request is in, Dujarric said, we have to see. See what?

  And so far from the UN, nothing on the killing of Rocchelli and Mironov. Watch this site.


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