U.N. chief heads to Russia for talks with Putin on Ukraine crisis

Ban ki-moon’s first stop will be in Moscow, then he will travel to Kiev on Friday

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon departs on Wednesday for Moscow and Kiev, where he will hold talks with Russian and Ukrainian leaders and push for a peaceful resolution of the crisis over Crimea, the United Nations said.

"His first stop will be Moscow, where tomorrow, 20 March, he will meet with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other senior officials," the U.N. press office said in a statement.

He will travel to Kiev on Friday, where he will hold talks with top Ukrainian officials, members of the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission and representatives of civil society.

The statement said the visit was "part of (Ban's) diplomatic efforts to encourage all parties to resolve the current crisis peacefully".

"The Secretary-General has consistently called for a solution that is guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter," the statement said.

It gave no further details. Key elements of the charter include respect for fellow U.N. member states' sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the peaceful resolution of international disputes.

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