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CONNECT THE WORLD
Ousted Ukrainian Presidents Insists He's Still Legitimate Leader; Unknown Military Personnel Surround Crimean State TV Station; Massive International Boiler Room Busted By London Police
Aired February 28, 2014 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight, the latest on the crisis in Ukraine. Unidentified military trucks block a main road in Crimea. The Russian helicopters fly over Ukrainian air space. It's prompting urgent calls for restraint on all sides.
Meanwhile, ousted President Viktor Yanukovych says he's still in charge. I get reaction from Ukraine's ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Also ahead, boiler room bust. Police crack down on what they call an international fraud ring.
And Olympian Oscar Pistorius prepares to face trial in South Africa. CNN examines some of the evidence in the case.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
FOSTER: Ukraine's ousted president resurfaces in Russia whilst a crisis deepens in the Crimea region back home.
Let's get straight to the latest developments, because Viktor Yanukovych says he's not giving up power, insisting he's still Ukraine's legitimate leader. He says the government has been seized by pro-fascist young people.
In southern Ukraine, security forces say they stopped armed men from seizing two airports in Crimea, a region dominated by ethnic Russians.
All air space is now closed over Crimea until further notice and Ukraine's largest telecom company says it can't provide data and voice connections between Crimea and the rest of the country, because unknown people destroyed cables.
Ukrainian officials say Russian helicopters flew into Ukrainian airspace over Crimea earlier. And Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with several western leaders saying the crisis must not escalate any further.
And the UN security council is due to hold urgent talks on Ukraine beginning this hour. Ukraine's ousted president says he is against any military interference in his country, but during his news conference today, Viktor Yanukovych also said Russia must take action to end the crisis without giving any specifics. He says he'll go back to Ukraine once his safety is assured.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): That I intend to continue the fight for the future of Ukraine against those who would fear, and with terror, are attempting to replace the power. And I have decided to make a public statement about this. Nobody has overturned me. I was compelled to leave Ukraine due to a direct threat of my life and my nearest and dearest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Let's get more from Fred Pleitgen. He's following developments with CNN Moscow.
Yanukovych in Russia. How much authority does his wording have today?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I would say very little. If you're looking at him trying to go back to Ukraine, I mean, that was clearly what he was saying is that he would like to go back there. He said that that wouldn't happen until the security for himself would be in place. At this point, that's certainly is not something that's going to happen.
If you look at longer-term prospects for him to potentially run in the next election that's due on May 25th. He already said that he doesn't want to do that. But he does say that he still sees himself as the real president of Ukraine.
But it really is hard to see any way that he'd be able to return to the country, not only because of course of the situation, Max, in Kiev, but also if you look at the Yanukovych stronghold, or the former Yanukovych strongholds, he's been dropped by almost all of his former political allies. You look at the mayor of Kharkiv who was one of his big political allies. A lot of people in the east of the country that I spoke to only two days ago. They say they consider him a coward and a traitor.
And then you look at the security forces that he used really to cement his power when he was still in office, like the big Berkut militias who were the ones who fired on protesters in Kiev, they've dropped him as well, because of course many of them have actually had to leave Kiev and are now in the Crimea region.
So it's very difficult to see how he would be able to drum up enough support to return to Ukraine in the near-term, Max.
FOSTER: He does seem to have some implicit support, though, from Russia by being allowed in, by being able to make this speech, this press conference from there. So what -- what are his next moves?
PLEITGEN: Well, it's interesting. And you know you're absolutely right about this implicit support from Russia. It really is hard to read between the lines there, because on the one hand, yeah, they did let him come to their country, but it was also very telling that the press conference that he gave today was held in Rostov on the Don, which is in the south near the border with Ukraine and was not held in Moscow.
He also said that he hasn't met with Vladimir Putin yet and has only spoken to him on the phone.
And in some of his answers there was, I wouldn't say implicit criticism of Russia, but certainly his expectation that Russia could do a lot more to help him.
I want to listen in to just a little soundbite that he also gave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YANUKOVYCH (through translator): Thanks to the patriotic officer I ended up in Russia, that is how I would say who carried out his duty and helped me to keep my life. That is the first thing.
Secondly, I have not met Mr. Putin after I ended up in the territory of Russia I spoke to him on the telephone. We agreed that when -- as soon as it is possible the president of Russia will meet me and this meeting will take place. When that will be possible I do not know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So it's still absolutely unclear to Yanukovych when such a meeting could take place. He also said that he feels that Russia should do everything in its power to try and solve the situation there in Ukraine to his favor, obviously. But he also said, as you mentioned, that he's against any sort of military intervention. And the other interesting thing was also, Max, that when he was asked about the situation in Crimea he said that he did support those Russians who were currently seemingly starting some swarm of an uprising there, but he also said he didn't want military intervention as well there and he seemed sort of disconnected with the situation.
So, very interesting to see what his next move will be, Max.
FOSTER: Yeah. Fred, thank you very much indeed.
Let's get more on the very tense situation in Ukraine's Crimea region then, because this map gives you a sense of where things are really happening.
Crimea is on the southern peninsula, jutting into the Black Sea. Its regional capital Simferopol is nearly 700 kilometers from Kiev. The armed me we told you about earlier were patrolling the airport in Simferopol as well as a civilian and military airbase in nearby Sevastopol, a port city that hosts Russia's Black Sea fleet.
Diana Magnay is in Simferopol tonight and joins us on the line.
Things moving so quickly there, you better give us the latest picture first, Diana.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're right that things are moving very quickly and in quite a mysterious fashion, Max. As you said, these unknown gunmen who have been active both those airports you mentioned also seemed to have surrounded the state broadcaster here and also attempted to encircle another broadcasting organization ART, which is a private channel. They were at the airport. I was at Simferopol earlier.
And it's difficult to know who they are. They are highly organized. The military organization -- you know, they're wearing military fatigues, they're wearing balaclavas. When you ask them where they're from -- are they Russian -- the reply they're highly armed and they are very good at disguising who they are. They're not wearing any kind of military insignia. Their military vehicles have the number plates removed. And they're also acting in a fairly peaceful fashion even though their presence and their weapons are threatening. They didn't halt airport operations earlier. And they have just encircled the state broadcaster which is continuing to broadcast.
Russia has said very clearly that their military personnel have not moved away from their military bases around Sevastopol, which is the headquarters of the Black Sea -- Russia's Black Sea fleet.
But what we're hearing and what we're seeing on the ground would belie. If these unknown masked gunmen are not Russian, the who are they? You can speculate perhaps they are the disbanded Berkut who have come in large numbers to this region.
But, you know, I've been in Kiev for a long time over the course of this crisis, the Berkut were a lot older and a lot more senior policemen than these guys seem to be. They're pretty young, their eyes behind the Balaclavas, perhaps they are in Russia's pay, but not part of their military, or perhaps they are Russian military.
We also have video that ART says -- one of the channels here -- says is of Russian helicopters flying over Ukrainian air space and photographs from local residents of Sevastopol showing what they believe to be Russian tanks on the streets.
So very alarming developments, if these are indeed true, Max.
FOSTER: Diana, thank you very much indeed. You'll be following things I know in the next few days.
And a short while ago, I sat down with Ukraine's ambassador to the UK, Volodymyr Khandogiy and asked him about the situation unfolding where Diana is.
VOLDOMYR KHANDOGIY, UKRAINE'S AMBASSADOR TO UK: What happened in Crimea is - is the -- the let's say attempt by some forces -- I don't want to name them now, because I don't know for sure -- to instigate the separatist, you know, mood and to create crisis in Crimea.
FOSTER: What is the Russian involvement with what's going on there?
KHANDOGIY: Well, in the first place we have to remember that Russia has base -- a naval base in Crimea, in Sevastopol in particular, but not only in Sevastopol, it's all over the place.
So, Russia is there already. And we have reasons to believe that some of the actions are going on not with doubt -- the knowledge of the Russian Federation.
FOSTER: Without the approval, perhaps, of the Russian Federation.
KHANDOGIY: No, I mean, they are -- not without the knowledge. I am hesitant to say that they are going on with the approval, which I might assume.
FOSTER: Could the Russians be directly involved? Could they be Russian men at the airport?
KHANDOGIY: Could be. Yes. I think it's a possibility. I don't know for sure. And that's -- this is exactly what -- what Ukrainians are trying to find out. We have sent to Russia several, let's say notes asking and proposing them to sit down together and discuss the situation. Until now as far as I know we have not yet received a positive reply from them.
FOSTER: We're hearing that the Russian military are making movements.
KHANDOGIY: Yes, they are making them -- that's exactly...
FOSTER: So what point do you respond to that?
KHANDOGIY: Our point is that we have an agreement with Russia on stationing a Black Sea fleet. And now we are having a clear violation of that treaty. So we appeal to Russia at this stage. We appeal to Russia to follow and to live up to the provisions of this treaty.
We are not -- at least at this point in time -- we are not talking about military response.
FOSTER: What we do know is that they allowed Yanukovych into Russia. He made a big speech today. You didn't see that?
KHANDOGIY: Interview of Yanukovych today does not have a lot of relevance. It's a kind of -- yesterday -- as far as we concerned, we have a legitimate government...
FOSTER: As far as you're aware lots of conversations going on with those western powers trying to work out how to bolster the Kiev government?
KHANDOGIY: It must be, first of all, we are working within the framework of political resolution. There are -- there are events in Ukraine which are ready and we will be taken care of. We do not want any external interference. I am not suggesting, but I cannot sort of -- I can assume and suspect at this time there are attempts to interfere. So we would like, using existing procedures, to appeal to those outside of Ukraine to not instigate, not to interfere in our efforts.
We are capable of resolving the issues that might be felt by the people living in Crimea ourselves. The stationing of the Black Sea Fleet does not warrant any kind of -- you know, effort -- any kind of actions, rather, to help us. We don't need that help.
FOSTER: Ukraine's ambassador to the UK there. We know that the British foreign secretary William Hague will travel to Kiev on Sunday to meet with Ukrainian leaders to discuss the ways that the west can help. We've also just had some news coming into us from Crimea. As Diana was saying earlier, it's a fast moving situation and we're told that a group of 20 Russian marines from the Black Sea Fleet wearing military fatigues without insignias and carrying weapons surrounded the state TV of Crimea building in Simferopol and that's according to the broadcaster's director- general speaking today, Friday.
Despite carrying those machine guns, the soldiers didn't interfere, though, with the broadcasts, have been staying outside the building. And the director-general says the troops were ordered to keep the building secure.
So they're not getting involved in the broadcasts, they're securing the building thought. Movements ongoing. Similar sort of situation as we saw at the airport earlier today.
The Crimean peninsula is emerging as ground zero. Intentions between Ukraine and Russia. We've got the five things you need to know about the region from how it moved from Russia to Ukraine in the first place and why Moscow still considers it a key asset. It's one of the top stories online currently at CNN.com/international.
Still to come tonight, Chinese authorities bust a criminal ring selling babies online. We'll have a report for you from Beijing.
Also ahead, Oscar Pistorius prepares to face Trial in the shooting death of his girlfriend. We'll have a closer look at some of the evidence in the case.
And clamping down on fraud, police arrest the alleged ringleaders of a real, life "Wolf on Wall Street" scam. All that and much more when Connect the World continues.
FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.
In the U.S., thousands of documents are shedding light on Bill Clinton's presidency. At least 4,000 papers have been made public by the National Archives (inaudible) administration. Some of the topics include the administration's response to al Qaeda before the September 11 terror attacks and also health care.
CNN White House correspondent Brianna Keilar has the details from Washington. You've been pouring over what you can, I know Brianna. What's most interesting to you?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, some of the most interesting things here, Max, really have to do with color. I will tell you there's no bombshell so far that have been dropped in these documents, but this is only about 4,000 to 5,000 documents of the 25,000 that we are expecting to see here over the next couple of weeks.
Let's talk about Hillary Clinton, because of her obvious prospects as being a 2016 presidential contender there's so much interest there. And what we see in these documents pertaining to her is a tremendous effort by her aids, by those close to her, to try to bolster her position in the media. She was sort of famously hunkered down, I think, in the early years of the Bill Clinton administration and it shows just how actively her aides were talking about her aversion to the national Washington media -- I'm quoting.
They talk about how this was kind of a funny one, Hillary could speak to young women through Internet, not the Internet -- Internet -- it just shows you how nascent, really, it was at that point. And then it talks about her aides needing to reach out to members of the media and tell anecdotes about her to humanize her to show that she's not sort of in a bunker mentality as she was certainly believed to be at the time.
Another -- that was from 1995. In 1999, when she, Max, had said that she would be running for Senate and she was going on a listening tour, there was sort some prep work going into that where some of her advisers said don't be defensive, look like you want the questions.
This was ahead of a town hall meeting where she was going to be speaking to many members of really just -- well, really just regular Americans, but she might also be speaking to the press. And it said to her look for opportunities for humor. It's important that people see more sides of you, and they often see you only in very stern situations.
FOSTER: Brianna, it's interesting stuff. Thank you very much indeed for brining us that.
Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, police shutdown international boiler rooms in a coordinator bust of alleged fraudsters. We'll have a report for you from here in London.
FOSTER: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.
Now it's like a scene out of a film, police have busted what they call an international ring of fraudsters suspected of making millions by selling worthless investments to unsuspecting victims. Atika Shubert has this report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My killers -- my killers who will not take no for an answer.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "The Wolf of Wall Street" captured it on screen, the relentless sales pitch to vulnerable investors, the extravagant spending on cars, drugs and women.
But this is no Hollywood movie. British and Spanish police arrested more than 100 people for running at least 16 so-called boiler room operations, most of them in Spain, investment scams pushing the hard sell on victims, everything from fake shares to fraudulent carbon credits, wine and land investments that simply did not exist, raking in millions of dollars.
STEPHEN HEAD, COMMANDER, CITY OF LONDON POLICE: This is fraud, this is stealing from people, but it's stealing from people on an unprecedented scale. We've got at least 850 victims that we've identified already in the United Kingdom. There are bound to be many, many more.
SHUBERT: In the raids, police seized gold Rolex watches, and Aston Martin and a Ferrari among other luxury items.
The victims, many of them British retirees looking for a safe place to park their savings. One victim took their own life after losing everything. Hundreds more are now struggling to make ends meet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were in a comfortable position and then we come with where we are absolutely broke, you know, broke.
SHUBERT: This victim described the intense pressure to invest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says you've got a house. He said can't you mortgage your house? Can't you -- you know -- he says all we want is 22,000. He said and that's easy (inaudible) double your money straight away.
SHUBERT: Britain's national crime agency says the scale of the network was unprecedented. The two year investigation nabbed both the masterminds behind the network and callers working in the boiler rooms.
HEAD: What we've looked at here is the heart of an international web of criminals operating on that global scale. What we also see, though, are people who are working in these boiler rooms, some of them are university graduates, some of them are very bright, intelligent people, but they're actually -- their not the upper echelons, they have no conscience.
SHUBERT: These arrests are a stark reminder that the tactics seen on "The Wolf of Wall Street" are very real.
Atika Shubert, CNN, London.
FOSTER: So what is a boiler room? What is boiler room fraud?
Well, this is how it works. It all starts with a simple phone call from a professional sounding fraudsters who use high pressure sales techniques to convince potential investors. And the victims are offered high returns on their investments. And seemingly reputable companies and firms as well.
Initially they may be given dividends to convince them their investment is paying off until one day they never hear back.
To discuss this further, I'm joined by Jeffrey Robinson who has been described by the British Banker's Association as the world's most important financial crime author live from CNN New York.
And your reputation is that you can explain what happens in these situations very well.
These people aren't stupid. They've earned nest eggs, because they are clever people. How do they get caught up in this trap, which is largely about psychology from what I can work out?
JEFFREY ROBINSON, AUTHOR; I hate to say it, but it's momentary stupidity peppered with greed. What happens is they go after people who actually are vulnerable to this sort of thing, the elderly, my age. And they say to them, you know, we know you've got a nest egg. What we can do is we can double it for you in three months. And the people maybe skeptical. But the problem is that they are dealing with absolutely great actors. These boiler rooms are literally that, they are rooms filled with tables and telephones and computers. And these guys have -- the fraudsters have a book with the script. And they rehearse the script and if the client says this, they turn the page and they go to that script. It's a very well thought out, very, very, very professional operation.
These are businesses. The problem is, that fraudsters -- because we see it on the movies and we see it in books and we see it on television, are made out to be charming rogues who all look like Carey Grant or a Leonardo DiCaprio. No, they're not. They're miserable bastards who really deserve to be put in jail, because they do serious damage and ruin lives. They are heartless, terrible human beings.
FOSTER: How do they convince people of their legitimacy, because if my bank rings me, they've got instant legitimacy, but if someone that I don't know rings me, how do they -- how do they convince people that they are from a legitimate organization?
ROBINSON: Well, they have legitimate sounding organizations. And they have spiel that they go through that has been tested and proven.
The problem with fraud is I call it a two-way street crime. In order for the fraudster to get into your bank account, you actually have to help him. You know, you've got to reveal your password in cyber fraud, you've got to reveal your Social Security number, all that sort of stuff to get into your bank. These people convince you that you can make a lot of money very quickly.
And because they've got British accents -- these are not people with Russian accents whom you would immediately turn off to, they're people with British accents or even American accents. They sound like they want to be your friend. They -- they convince you that you can cooperate and make a lot of money. That's why its called fraud. That's exactly what it is. It's not theft, it is fraud. And because it's a two-way street crime you cooperate.
FOSTER: How do you protect yourself from this type of fraud, then, without just questioning everyone that calls up?
ROBINSON: Well, start by questioning everybody who rings up. And if it's too good to be true, it ain't true. It's that simple.
You don't give your Social Security number, your bank account number, your credit card numbers to strangers. You wouldn't. Why would you?
Why would you then think that some guy who picks up the phone and calls you cold call is going to be your friend and you're going to make a lot of money. No, no, no, hang up the phone.
And can I say one other thing, I've got a very good piece of advice, Steve Head and the city of London police are the best and the brightest. They are terrific. They say it, they now have 850 victims. Steve on that film said he was expecting more. I suspect there are thousands and thousands of victims.
If you have been a victim, don't be ashamed, don't say that you've been stupid, don't convince yourself to hide and not tell anybody, call the city of London police and absolutely let them know. You may have a key to something very important. They will help you.
There may even at the end of it be some money coming back to you. But by all means, if you've been victim, don't be ashamed, it happens, get in touch with the authorities.
FOSTER: It is the embarrassment, isn't it, because that's why we often have a problem getting to speak to a lot of these victims, because they're so embarrassed about what happened.
Jeffrey Robinson, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
The latest world news headlines just ahead.
Plus, South Africa braces for what's being called the country's trial of the century. We'll explain why the case is putting the country's high crime rate under scrutiny and examine some of the evidence that will come up.
Later we'll take you inside the underneath -- inside and underneath, rather, some of the captured Mexican drug lord El Chapo's secret hideouts.
Plus, from catwalk to the Louvre, a Belgian designer's work makes it to one of the world's most famous museums.
All that and much more when Connect the World continues.
FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. Tensions are soaring in Ukraine's Crimea region. Officials say Russian helicopters flew over today and armed men tried but failed to seize two regional airports. Now we're getting reports that a group of 20 Russian marines from the Black Sea Fleet have surrounded the state TV of Crimea building in Simferopol.
Thousands of documents are being released in the US right now, shedding light on Bill Clinton's presidency. Some of the topics include the administration's response to al Qaeda before the September 11th terror attacks, and health care.
Chinese authorities say they smashed four baby-selling rings. Officials say they've arrested more than a thousand people for trading babies online and through instant messaging. The bust followed a six-month sting operation.
The alleged ringleaders of a so-called boiler room scam are being busted in a global police raid. More than a hundred people have been arrested in Spain, the UK, Serbia, and the US. They are suspected of making millions by selling worthless investments to unsuspecting victims.
South African track star Oscar Pistorius goes on trial next Monday over the killing of his girlfriend. It's being called South Africa's trial of the century, and the court is allowing unprecedented media coverage. The case is putting the country's crime rate into the spotlight. Here's Robyn Curnow.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A crime scene cordoned off. A man stabbed to death as a community looks on. About 45 people are murdered in South Africa every day, according to police statistics. Many others are hijacked in their cars or attacked at home.
South Africans are all too aware that the country's high crime rate will be as much in focus in the upcoming court proceedings as Oscar Pistorius.
JOHANN BURGER, INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES: We know that 65 percent --
CURNOW: Johann Burger is a former policeman who now works as a crime researcher at the Institute of Security Studies.
BURGER: I'm also afraid. I've got a whole procedure that I go through every evening to make certain that as far as is possible for me, I have all my security systems in place. I'm not going to say what else I do, but the fact is, I am aware of the situation in this country, and I think it would be completely irresponsible not to take appropriate action.
CURNOW: Pistorius shot his own 9 millimeter, just like this one, pumping four hollow-point bullets, according to sources familiar with the investigation, through a locked bathroom door, hitting his girlfriend inside.
Pistorius's defense is that he was scared of an intruder and so took appropriate action, unaware that Reeva was behind the door. However, Barry Pieters, who's a competitive target shooter, says South Africa's gun ownership laws are tight and clear about safety and self defense.
BARRY PIETERS, COMPETITIVE TARGET SHOOTER: You have to be under serious -- under a serious life-threatening situation. There's no way that you can just think that you're being attacked and then fire a weapon at somebody.
CURNOW: As for the ballistics, while it's not illegal to own hollow- point bullets, as Pieters demonstrates, compared to other bullets on the market, they are destructive on impact.
PIETERS: You see the little serrations on the side? Which would, on impact, those little serrations will open like that, and besides the mushroom that it will form, it will form almost like a little fan. Remember now, it's also spinning. So you can imagine the amount of damage that can do to you.
CURNOW: Pistorius says in court documents he felt especially vulnerable because he didn't have his prosthetic on. In 2008, in the room he would eventually share with Reeva Steenkamp that night, Pistorius showed CNN where his legs were amputated as a child.
OSCAR PISTORIUS, TRACK STAR: It's about midway. If you had to put it about there, it would be about halfway down.
CURNOW: It's this disability and the high crime rate that will no doubt be used in court as a reason for Pistorius's alleged fear and paranoia about an intruder in the night.
Meanwhile, the state will continue to argue that he knew who was behind the closed door and that he deliberately shot Reeva Steenkamp dead.
Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria.
FOSTER: We want to take you to the United Nations, now, because we mentioned earlier that the Security Council has been meeting to discuss the situation in Ukraine, with the urging of the country's interim government. Ambassadors are now emerging from that meeting. We're going to hear what the Ukrainian ambassador is saying.
YURIY SERGEYEV, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: -- challenging the international peace and challenging out territorial integrity. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ambassador, how would you characterize the Russian military movements? Would you characterize these as aggression?
SERGEYEV: Yes. Because some of them -- some of them, they identify themselves as Russians. We know specifically some of the units -- for example, this second -- 32nd Special Brigade of Main Intelligence Department of Headquarters of Armed Forces of Russian Federation -- we know about the special marine forces coming in.
We -- I told you -- I gave you a name of this captain, who let his group, because of the decision of Crimean parliament, and we identified the presence of the Russian aircrafts and helicopters.
The people who invaded in the parliament -- Crimean parliament and in the council and who is keeping the airports, they are to be identified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ambassador, can you tell the name of the naval officer? And also, can you tell us where these aircraft are headed? Are they going into Crimea or are they going into other places and whether your government still has control over the two airports in Crimea?
SERGEYEV: So, where is the name? Oh, here. Ukrainian Coast Guard unit at Sevastopol was blocked by a group of armed people under the command of Russian navy captain, captain of the first rank. So this is his title, colonel for the -- infantry. Captain Oleksandr Tolmachov (ph), who tried to explain his actions by recent decisions of Crimea authorities.
Still, we do not have full control in the airports. More than that, what we got from Kiev, so -- the main air control center in -- has been captured by the armed forces of Russian Federation, and we're -- what's -- and so look at the paper when you get it.
Again, all the signals are being suppressed by the equipment to control the air movement. So -- here we are. But the details you can find on the papers if we have enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your response to the Yanukovych press conference held in Rostov-on-Don, and also, where does the IM -- your request, your government's request to the International Monetary Fund, where does it stand, how long a time frame are you looking at?
SERGEYEV: Thank you. Luckily, I had no chance to listen to Yanukovych because what my colleagues who observed it, they told this is comedy. Even if you look back, as I was told by my colleagues, if you look what he said literally that because of our strategic relations with Ukraine -- look. The president Ukraine stated it like that.
So, no comments because a man who could step aside, even on the cost - - on the price of his own position and not to permit people to kill others, he -- he escaped from the country somewhere and making statements which are making more and more harm. It's beyond comments. So, it's immoral.
So, the IMF. As you were informed, the delegation of IMF is coming to Kiev early next week. There are some statements from IMF that we are to negotiate some deliberations in the positions, but what's very important for us, do understand the restrictions.
Because money to come should work for the reforms and not disappear as $2 billion or $3 billion given by Russian side. They are to work for the reforms, and the people and the government should know exactly where this money will go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ambassador, Sergeyev, what do you exactly expecting from the session of the Security Council, and beside calling it aggression, would you please again, just in a word or two, summarize how you view those who aggressed your country?
SERGEYEV: We observed the separatism from -- in Crimea and in a big amount coming from Russian Federation. Today, the delegations, the visitors from Russia -- Russian parliament expanded in times. They are coming there, they are inspiring people by the citizenship and their protection and so on and so forth.
But it happened before. We made a lot of statements 10 years ago, 15 years ago. There is a permanent invasion in our international -- in our domestic affairs and encouraging the separatists. Yes, there are groupings, pro-Russians. They could exist, as anywhere. But these groupings they made, and now they are making a serious mistake challenging our territorial independence and integrity.
I would like you all not to be at all partial. Look in the Internet yourself and make analysis of yourself, who was appointed by the Crimean parliament as the prime minister recently? You will understand everything. The same scenario which happened in (inaudible). The people with their past under question, the people who made crime and so on. Look and compare.
So, this is something which needs global understanding of the process, because the mechanisms are the same.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you expect from --
SERGEYEV: What to expect from Security Council and from all of you, we need the impartial, true coverage of the situation in Crimea, because it is one-sided. One-sided coverage from Russian side. What we need to have -- we want you to help us to bring the truth around the world what's going on.
What we expect from the Security Council and for all my colleagues, first of all -- moral support. They are to understand what is going on. We want from them political support. We want from them to do everything possible in the -- in terms of preventive diplomacy.
Still we have a chance to stop the negative developments and to stop all the separatism through the strong voices from around the world. Because we have observed this same scenario in many places. Somebody comes from a side and fights people to be vulnerable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ambassador Sergeyev, thank you. But if the Security Council doesn't give you this support, also because Russia is one of the permanent members with veto power, can you tell us what your government expects the European Union and the United States would do to calm the situation? To make the situation not escalate more?
SERGEYEV: Thank you. As you, I'm following the final stance of the Security Council. I know that we have the support because several days ago, when the Swiss presidency briefed the Security Council and this discussion brought to the exchange of positions of the Security Council member states on the situation in Ukraine.
All 14 members -- 15 is Russia -- they stated for the territorial integrity, they stated for unity, they stated practically for their support. I count on this majority. But I am following as well if the Security Council is capable, really capable to deal with the situation like Ukraine has in terms of all the days on the Security Council reform with effectiveness, with rapidness to react to stop the violence.
I am referring to what the French leadership stated during the General Assembly last September, to forget about the leaders when atrocities are standing before us. When the challenge to the international peace is in front of us.
Well, this is my expectation, but also the expectation of the major General Assembly support as well. I don't think that the respective country could come to poise itself to what the world around thinks about all these atrocities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying that there's no basis under which the current government in Kiev would accept the idea of a referendum in Crimea, if it's structured properly, perhaps with outside, impartial monitors, to find out what the people of Crimea want in the way of their government?
SERGEYEV: If the pure legalist, I should tell that the decision by the Crimean power was taken illegally not because they took it under the pressure of the Kalashnikov, but as well that there is no legislation of Ukraine, neither Crimea, as to the local or regional referendums.
There is the provision of our state law on the referendums, if any problem, any question referring to the territorial integrity or changing of the status of any region of Ukraine are raised, so it should be a national referendum.
So at least in legal terms, the specific bill should be adopted to move with all these thoughts and decisions. That's why in legal terms, constitutional terms, it's very difficult. It's very difficult to realize now without all these steps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ambassador, are you confident that the new Ukrainian government has the support of the Ukrainian security forces in this crisis? And also is Ukraine prepared to defend itself militarily, or does it have the capability to do so against the Russian Federation?
SERGEYEV: Good question. The opposition before changing the -- the constitutional majority in the parliament, they -- before creation of the government, they stated that they would be in favor of the government of the people's trust. And we had for the first time in our history very specific kind of consultations with the people.
So, each of the candidates for the ministers, they were negotiated with the civil society. They organized on our Independence Square, Maidan as now known, they organized the council. And all the candidates, they were agreed with them.
And some of these candidacies, they were thrown out. So, it means that the minister of defense, he's a professional military man, Admiral Teniukh. He was supported by the people and he's respected in the army.
The -- in the security, Valentin Nalivaichenko supported -- he's from the opposition, his candidacy supported by the people, and he used to be the chief of security during the Yushchenko time in the Ministry of Interior.
So, people demonstrated their support, full support in the Ministry, got those who were professional police people. So, the defense deputy is professional police person, we count on that.
The second question is very painful for me, because I even do not want to think about any kind of military development around the settlement of the question. But I think we are strong enough to defend ourselves. We have a strong feeling, we have crucial thinking that we are right in what we are doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about your resolution on invoking the International Criminal Court? Did this come up, and also the request to extradite Mr. Yanukovych back? What are the status of those two actions?
SERGEYEV: Not exactly, because you could find, in my view, the explanation how the ICC works. Well, it's not so easy to move directly. What we have, we should ratify the Rome Statute. We should, because it has been pending since Kuchma. Even the democratic government of Yushchenko failed to ratify it, and now it is ratified.
But it doesn't mean that it could work so easily as people demand. But what we have on the ground, there is the people's initiative. There is the committee -- initiative committee to collect all the crimes of the former power.
This people's committee is headed by a professional, my former colleague and former ambassador to Hague, former ambassador to United Kingdom, professor of international law and former judge in the Hague tribunal on the case of Milosevic, Vladimir Vasilenko. And they are collecting and making analysis of all the crimes and atrocities of the former regime.
Then, the next step, I don't know. Either it should be -- I think that first of all, it should be -- should be decided in the Ukrainian court by Ukrainians, and then to see how we can move.
But it was not so frightening for Yanukovych, no. Not that. No. Criminal court, which permits to release Yulia Tymoshenko, she disappeared immediately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ambassador, you called it a comedy, perhaps (inaudible) -- or the comedy, the press conference of --
SERGEYEV: Yes. If you could look --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just that my question is, if instead of thinking it's a comedy, let's say the Russian government starts to think actually Yanukovych is still the president of Ukraine, do you predict that sooner or later, here at the United Nation there will be a problem who is the legal government that represents Ukraine? Do you have everybody recognizing you at the moment as the ambassador of Ukraine?
SERGEYEV: A good question, but if -- as to the comedy, please look carefully how it was organized. No answers to the questions raised by the journalists. Microphones were switched off. And he kept saying, "I am the president of Ukraine, I am the president of Ukraine."
So, it was the only task for him not to answer the questions, because the questions were very tough of -- I don't know how Ukrainian journalist from UNIAN appeared there, but the question was, what can you say about your luxury, the palace, and what we discovered there and so on?
FOSTER: The Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, there, really very much at this point pointing the finger towards Russia in relation to the crisis, particularly in Crimea. He said the Crimean separatism was inspired by Russia, and Russia was making a serious mistake by challenging Ukraine's integrity.
From the West, he wants moral support at this point. Meanwhile, we're hearing from Crimea further developments after armed men surrounded the airport. We now hear that a group of 20 Russian marines have surrounded state TV of Crimea, the building there in Simferopol.
And also, whilst the ambassador was speaking, we heard that Ukraine's prosecutor general has announced the beginning of the official request between Ukraine and Russia for the extradition of the former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who's obviously in Russia.
And we heard from Fred Pleitgen earlier that that's being seen as implicit support from Russia for his position. He claims still to be president. More in the coming hours.
I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.