U.N. envoy to CNN: Situation in Crimea 'dangerous'
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
- Robert Serry talks to "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer"
- The U.N. envoy to Ukraine was threatened by armed men in Crimea
- He calls for political dialogue and a de-escalation of tensions
(CNN) -- The United Nations envoy to Ukraine who was threatened by armed men in Crimea on Wednesday told CNN he hopes his experience "serves as a reminder to all how dangerous the situation has become."
Robert Serry said the car he was traveling in was blocked by armed men in camouflage uniforms, who did not identify themselves, after he visited the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy in Simferopol.
The men told Serry they had orders to take him to the airport immediately, but Serry refused. A brief standoff ensued. The men pulled Serry's driver out of the car, and some managed to get in, the envoy said. He got out.
Serry walked and sought refuge for hours in a cafe, swarmed by protesters. He was eventually taken safely to the airport and left the country.
Ukraine: U.N. envoy taken, released
Fmr. Obama adviser: Putin not crazy
Ukraine PM: Military option not off table
Map of Crimea
Map of Crimea
While he told CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" he was not in fear for his life, the incident shows the "very urgent need to de-escalate" the tensions.
"All those who are responsible and can do that must have cool heads, lower their rhetoric, and address the situation. I'm very, very afraid for what could happen if there is bloodshed," Serry said from Istanbul, Turkey.
Leaked call raises questions about who was behind sniper attacks in Ukraine
He was in Crimea at the behest of the U.N. secretary-general to report on what's happening there.
When asked by Blitzer what he believes need to be done, the envoy replied the situation on the ground needs to be addressed first.
"A mechanism is very much needed between the parties involved on the Crimea to actually start to control the situation and to de-escalate these tensions. There can be help from the outside if the parties accept that," he said.
"What is, of course, also very important is that a political dialogue starts between representatives from the Republic of Crimea and the government in Kiev."
Serry said Ukraine could be pulled apart if the rhetoric between the East ad West continues to rise.
The incident was mentioned Wednesday by the U.S. Secretary of State, who met with his Russian counterpart in Paris.
"We have seen today with what happened with Special Envoy Serry, just how important it is to ensure the safety of those monitors and observers," John Kerry said. "Ukraine's territorial integrity must be restored and must be respected. The United States stands ready to help our friends in a time of need."
READ: Five possible ways to end the Ukraine crisis
READ: Anchor quits: I can't be part of network 'that whitewashes' Putin's actions
MAP: How Ukraine is divided
READ: Live updates from the crisis in Ukraine
CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.
Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0751 GMT (1551 HKT)
Reza Sayah looks into why thousands of Ukrainians have left their old lives to volunteer to fight.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
CNN's Ralitsa Vassileva speaks to The New Republic's Linda Kinstler about Putin's motives with Ukraine and China.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1436 GMT (2236 HKT)
President Barack Obama speaks at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1258 GMT (2058 HKT)
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 broke apart in the air after it was hit by a burst of "high-energy objects" from outside, a preliminary report by Dutch aviation investigators said Tuesday.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
"There were many scenes that defied logic," writes OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw, who was one of the first international observers to arrive at the site.
September 3, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
On a country road in eastern Ukraine, a scene of bucolic tranquility was suddenly interrupted by the aftermath of carnage.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
In the city of Donetsk, the devastation wrought by weeks of fighting between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces is all too apparent.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0000 GMT (0800 HKT)
CNN's Diana Magnay reports from the front lines in the Ukrainian conflict.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
August 23, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
A shopkeeper's mutilated body, relatives' anguish, homes destroyed ... this is Donetsk.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
A 20-minute drive from Kiev takes you to a neighborhood that feels more like Beverly Hills than central Ukraine.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Photos illustrate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as fighting continues to flare in the region.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
Future imports, exports between the EU and Russia are now banned -- but existing contracts continue.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
Learn more about the victims, ongoing investigation and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
The downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 put the pro-Russia rebels operating in Ukraine's eastern region center stage.