U.N. Envoy Chased From Crimea by Armed Men

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A member of the Russian forces guards in front of surface-to-air S300 missiles  in a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile unit on the Cape of Fiolent in Sevastopol on March 5, 2014. A military source has told Interfax-Ukraine that Russian commandos have seized control of the anti-aircraft missile systems and are guarding them.
Photo: VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images

Despite "a long day of discussions" between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, the U.S. has so far failed to get Putin and Co. to sit down with Ukraine on the Crimea issue. "We initiated a process today that we hope will eventually lead to de-escalation," said Kerry. Meanwhile, in Crimea, the United Nations special envoy was being threatened by a gang of armed men.

Pro Russian supporters stand guard beside a goverment building in the Crimean city of Simferopol on March 5, 2014 in Simferopol, Ukraine. As the standoff between the Russian military and Ukrainian forces continues in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, world leaders are pushing for a diplomatic solution to the escalating situation. The United Nations reports that the poverty rate in Ukraine is now at around 25%, with a falling population in recent years due to both a low fertility rate and migration to other parts of Europe and America.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

"I think this incident is just an example of how serious the situation has become and my hope is that everybody will realize that this situation is very urgent now and we must find a way to de-escalate the situation here," said Robert Serry, who ended up trapped in a coffee shop with journalists after the run-in. "That is the lesson of what happened to me." (ITV News has exclusive video.)

Despite Russia's dubious claims that the forces on the peninsula are there of their own accord, not Russian soliders, Serry was "surrounded by crowds shouting the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin." The ambassador eventually escaped safely and promptly hopped on a plane, telling journalists he was "happy to leave ... if it helped de-escalate the situation." No judgment here.

Russian forces patrol near the Ukrainian navy ship Slavutich in the harbor of the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol on March 5, 2014. Russian forces seized partial control of two Ukrainian missile bases in Crimea today as Western and Russian leaders stepped up efforts to defuse the region's worst crisis since the Cold War.
Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images