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UN chief voices alarm over Ukraine in Putin phone call

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his alarm over the escalating Ukraine crisis in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A Russian flag flutters on a barricade in front of Kramatorsk airbase in eastern Ukraine. Credit: REUTERS/Marko Djurica

"The Secretary-General ... underlined that any deepening of the crisis would be profoundly detrimental for all concerned; hence the need for everyone to work to de-escalate the situation," a statement from Ban's office read.

Ban Ki-moon 'deeply concerned' by Crimea situation

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he was "deeply concerned" by the situation involving Ukraine and Russia at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ban is on a visit to both nations to encourage all parties involved in the crisis over Ukraine and its Crimea region, which Western nations say Russia has illegally annexed, to find a peaceful solution.

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UN chief: Aim of talks is to establish a transitional govt

Asked about the apparent gap in objectives between the two Syrian delegations, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon said that the purpose of the talks is to "discuss how to implement the Geneva Communique" that was agreed in 2012.

This includes "establishing a transitional government," he said, adding that "everybody has come with the clear understanding that this is the basis" of the talks.

UN chief holds one-on-one meeting with Syrian minister

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon is holding bilateral talks with Syria's foreign minister Walid al-Moualem on the sidelines of major talks aimed at ending the conflict.

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UN chief: 'Fragile but real hope' at Syria peace talks

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon opened the Syria peace talks in Switzerland describing the occasion as a "day of fragile but real hope".

This is the first time delegates from both the Syrian government and opposition have been part of the same negotiations, but their openings speeches underlined the wide gap between their positions.

UN chief 'dismayed' by fallout from Iran's comments

The UN Secretary General is "urgently considering his options" following the "disappointing conduct of some participants" in forthcoming peace talks on Syria, the Associated Press reports.

The report cites Ban Ki-Moon's spokesman as saying that he is "dismayed" after some participants threatened to pull out of the talks in protest at Iran's invitation.

The spokesman is cited as saying that the "disappointing public statement" made by an Iranian minister earlier today "fell short by some measure of what the Secretary General expected to hear".

UN chief: 'Urgent' talks underway ahead of Syria summit

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said that "intensive and urgent" discussions are underway ahead of a major round of Syria peace talks on Wednesday.

Earlier, Iran's foreign minister Hosein Amirabdollahian is cited as saying that he would not accept any preconditions to take part in the 'Geneva 2' summit in Switzerland.

The ISNA news agency cited him is saying that it could not accept plans for a political transition in Syria as discussed at talks in 2012.

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