Gunmen Chase UN Envoy Out of Ukraine

Protesters trap Robert Serry in cafe
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2014 1:42 PM CST
Gunmen Chase UN Envoy Out of Ukraine
UN envoy Robert Serry addresses members of the Security Council in this 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/David Karp)

UN special envoy Robert Serry suddenly aborted his stay in Crimea today after a run-in with a group of armed men. Gunmen, some in combat fatigues, reportedly surrounded Serry's car after he left a meeting at a Ukrainian naval base unaccompanied by a security detail, USA Today and the International Business Times report. They said they had orders to bring him to the airport. "I refused, I sat in the car. There was kind of a standoff," Serry said. Serry managed to get out of the car and walk to a nearby cafe, where he holed up with ITV News reporter James Mates, as a local militia blocked the entrance.

Eventually, Serry agreed to leave the country; according to Mates, he said he was "happy to leave Crimea if it helped deescalate the situation." He got into his car and drove off, as a crowd of protesters chanted, "Putin!" and "Russia!" A UN spokesperson says Serry will "shortly return to Kiev to continue his mission." Ukrainian officials originally characterized the incident to Reuters as a kidnapping. A UN deputy secretary-general soon set the record straight, saying, "He was not kidnapped, but he was seriously threatened. This action should be seriously condemned." (More Robert Serry stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.