Russia will not be attending an informal UN Security Council meeting on Crimea on Thursday, the country's mission to the UN said, calling the talks a "provocation."
The UN Security Council on Thursday was set to hold a closed door meeting to "provide [members with] an opportunity to hear firsthand accounts and perspectives on the human rights situation, media freedom, the situation of national minorities as well as on the developments in Crimea and eastern regions of Ukraine," the Lithuanian permanent mission to the UN said in an online statement.
The Russian delegation to the body told TASS news agency on Thursday it would not be attending the event.
"We believe that this event is counterproductive and a provocation. This does not fall under the tasks of the UN Security Council. The Russian delegation will not take part in [the meeting] neither will the delegations of some other countries," a Russian mission press release cited by TASS said.
Among those scheduled to speak at the meeting are Mustafa Dzhemilev, a former Crimean Tatar community leader who was banned from Crimea last year April on charges of extremism, and Andriy Zubariev, representative of the Crimean Field Mission human rights organization.
Russia on Wednesday celebrated the anniversary of what President Vladimir Putin calls the region's historic "return home" after Russian troops seized control of it from Ukraine last year and the people backed its annexation in a referendum.