UN Envoy Stuck In Coffee Shop After Being Threatened By Armed Men In Crimea

Ukraine crimeaREUTERS/Baz RatnerA Crimean flag hangs over a barricade at the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 27, 2014. Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament on Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula on Thursday and raised the Russian flag in a challenge to the country’s new rulers.

The United Nations said Wednesday that U.N. envoy Robert Serry was threatened by armed men in the Crimean region of Ukraine.

But it said Serry was in “good shape” and had not been kidnapped, contrary to an Interfax report citing the Ukraine Interior Ministry.

“He is in good shape physically,” U.N. Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson told reporters in a conference call Wednesday.

Eliasson said Serry was threatened by unidentified armed men who said he should leave Crimea. Eliasson said Serry tried to get in his car, but the unidentified men prevented his car from leaving. He went to a cafe, where he called Eliasson.

According to ITV News’ James Mates, Serry is still in the coffee shop. The armed men — “local militia” — are blocking the exit:

Mates also tweeted a photo of the “local militia” outside the coffee shop:

Interfax-Ukraine also reported that Mikhail Koval, a high-ranking officer at Ukraine’s State Border Guard, was kidnapped by about 40 unidentified people near a coast guard unit in Yalta.

The strategic Black Sea peninsula is currently occupied by Russian soldiers and pro-Russian “defence forces” who have surrounded all key Ukrainian military facilities and set up roadblocks.

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