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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On Twitter, ITV Editor Reports U.N. Envoy’s Ordeal in Crimea as It Unfolds

As my colleague Somini Sengupta reported from the United Nations, 10 to 15 unidentified armed men threatened a U.N. special envoy, Robert Serry, as he left a meeting at a naval base in Crimea, ordering him to go to the airport and leave the peninsula, the deputy secretary-general, Jan Eliasson, said.

When Mr. Serry refused, the gunmen surrounded his car. He got out and walked to his hotel, stopping at a cafe to call Mr. Eliasson, who later spoke to reporters in a telephone news conference from Kiev, the Ukraine capital.

James Mates, the Europe editor for ITV News, was with Mr. Serry, and the ordeal unfolded on his Twitter account @jamesmatesitv as it happened.

Mr. Eliasson, the United Nations official who briefed reporters, quoted Mr. Serry as saying he did not know what language the gunmen spoke, nor whom they represented.

Mr. Serry, a veteran Dutch diplomat who was sent to the region by Mr. Eliasson this week, did not have a United Nations security detail with him, because of what Mr. Eliasson called the “dramatic circumstances.” He was relying on the Ukrainian authorities.

Follow Christine Hauser on Twitter @christineNYT.