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U.N. chief heads to Moscow, Kiev; seeks resolution

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:33 p.m. CST
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
U.N. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin speaks, during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the crisis in Ukraine, Wednesday March 19, 2014, at United Nations Headquarters.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is heading to Moscow and Kiev to meet with President Vladimir Putin and other officials Thursday and Friday in efforts to resolve the crisis over the Crimean Peninsula.

The United Nations also announced the deployment of a 34-member human rights monitoring mission to Ukraine, scheduled to be in place by Friday.

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic briefed the Security Council on Wednesday on his recent visit to Ukraine. He expressed particular concern over the security of Tatars and other ethnic minorities in Crimea.

Simonovic highlighted the disappearance of a Tatar activist after participating in a March 3 protest. Simonovic said the activist was found dead March 16 and his body bore marks of "mistreatment."

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin dismissed Simonovic's assessment as "one-sided."

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