[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] convened Sunday to address violence occurring in the Ukraine between government troops and pro-Russia militias. Ukrainian special forces reportedly exchanged gunfire [AP report] with the militias early Sunday, resulting in at least one death and several injuries. Sources indicate that the militias seek to limit the government’s power, which, they assert, has subscribed to western influence. The militias are demanding autonomy or Russian annexation. The Ukranian government issued an ultimatum to the pro-Russia groups, demanding that they either surrender by Monday morning or face a military attack. Ukraine ambassadors allege that Russia is staging the separatist movement as a pretext for an invasion. The militias ignored the deadline [Washington Post report] and continued to attack buildings on Monday. Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov spoke with [official statement] UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon on Monday and stated that he would not be opposed to dispersement of UN peacekeepers into the region. The UN has urged [UN news report] the Ukrainian government to rescind its ultimatum and has urged a diplomatic solution to the situation, citing possible international repercussions if a peaceful solution is not reached.
The ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] in Ukraine has reinvigorated fears of Cold War Era politics and increased tensions between Russia and the West. In March both the US Senate and the House of Representatives approved nearly identical bills [JURIST report] that would send a USD $1 billion aid package to Ukraine and place new sanctions on Russia. The UN General Assembly approved a resolution [JURIST report] declaring the Crimean referendum to secede from Ukraine invalid. The resolution calls upon all UN states, international organizations and specialty agencies not to recognize any change in status of the Crimean region despite the referendum [JURIST report]. The EU in February imposed [JURIST report] new sanctions against 11 senior Russian politicians, including Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. The EU imposed the sanctions on the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin finalized legislation making Crimea officially part of Russia.