Sky News: Russia has said China is largely “in agreement” over Ukraine, after other world powers condemned Moscow for sending troops into the country. Hundreds of Russian soldiers have surrounded a military base in Crimea, preventing Ukrainian soldiers from going in or out. The convoy blockading the site, near the Crimean capital Simferopol, includes at least 17 military vehicles.
Russian troops are also reported to have taken control of a ferry terminal in the city of Kerch on the eastern tip of Crimea, which has a majority Russian-speaking population.
Ukraine’s defence ministry said two Russian fighter jets violated the country’s air space in the Black Sea on Sunday night and that it had scrambled an interceptor aircraft to prevent the “provocative actions”. And reports claimed pro-Russian protesters had occupied a floor of the regional government building in Donetsk. The 11-storey building has been flying the Russian flag for the last three days.
Ukrainian prime minister Arseny Yatseniuk has insisted his country “will never give up Crimea to anyone” and urged Russian forces to withdraw.
Mr Yatseniuk said: “I was and am a supporter of a diplomatic solution to the crisis, as a conflict would destroy the foundations for stability in the whole region.” In an interview with Sky News, Foreign Secretary William Hague said the crisis is likely to take some time to resolve.
He said: “I think we probably are looking at a long period of very active diplomacy and looking for solutions to this since there is no sign of a change in the Russian position on this. “It’s impossible to be optimistic at the moment. We’re not in any position to be optimistic about the security situation and what is happening in the Crimea.”
The crisis has had a huge knock-on effect on global stock markets, with Moscow’s stock exchange plunging as much as 10% on Monday morning.
Russia’s central bank raised its rate to 7% from 5.5% as the ruble hit an historic low against the dollar and the euro.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Ukraine by telephone with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday, and claimed they had “broadly coinciding points of view” on the situation there, according to a ministry statement.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later, Mr Lavrov said Russian troops were necessary in Ukraine “until the normalization of the political situation” and dismissed threats of sanctions and boycotts. source – Sky News
Ukrainian Ministry Of Defense Says Russian Forces Issue Surrender Ultimatum, Seize Military Airstrip
At 1am local time on March 1st, the Ministry of Defense issued a statement that they received intel informing of an attack on Ukrainian military installations between 2-5am, and that the Ukrainian army would respond if attacked.
In turn, it was reported by Hromadske TV that Russian forces issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian forces to surrender their military basses by the 2am deadline. At 2am, a military airfield in Kirovske was captured by Russian soldiers. source – Ukrainian Policy
Russian troops moved into Crimea Friday, U.S. officials told Fox News, prompting Ukraine to accuse Russia of an “armed invasion.”
At the White House, President Obama said the U.S. government is “deeply concerned” by reports of Russian “military movements” and warned any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty would be “deeply destabilizing.”
“There will be costs” for any military intervention, he said, without specifying what those costs might be.
U.S. officials told Fox News they see “evidence of air and maritime movement into and out of Crimea by Russian forces” although the Pentagon declined to officially “characterize” the movement.
Agence France Press quoted a top Ukranian official as saying Russian aircraft carrying nearly 2,000 suspected troops have landed at a military air base near the regional capital of the restive Crimean peninsula.
“Thirteen Russian aircraft landed at the airport of Gvardeyskoye (near Simferopol) with 150 people in each one,” Sergiy Kunitsyn, the Ukrainian president’s special representative in Crimea, told the local ATR television channel, according to AFP. source – Fox News
You can count on Obama to give the Ukrainian people exactly the same help he gave the Syrian people after last year’s chemical weapons attack on them by their own leader. Nothing.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Delivering a blunt warning to Moscow, President Barack Obama expressed deep concern Friday over reported military activity inside Ukraine by Russia and warned “there will be costs” for any intervention. He did not say what those costs might be.
Obama called on Russia to respect the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.
“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” Obama said in a hastily arranged statement delivered from the White House. Such action by Russia would not serve the interests of the Ukrainian people, Russia or Europe, Obama said, and would represent a “profound interference” in matters he said must be decided by the Ukrainian people.
“Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world,” Obama said. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” source – AP
NTEB has obtained from Ukrainian sources a dramatic first look at Russian military helicopters swarming over Crimea, launched from the Russian base in Anapa:
“Today (28 February) In the State Border Guard technical observation posts was tracked flying from Kerch direction at a height of up to 1 km more than 10 Russian military helicopters in Ukraine,” – said in a statement.
“At the airport” Kacha “was formalized 3 helicopter, which was filed on the appropriate application BSF. Remaining helicopters that crossed the state border of Ukraine violated the requirements of the relevant bilateral agreements”, – the report says. source – ZN UA
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — A Russian armored personnel carrier loomed beside a checkpoint controlling access to Sevastopol on Wednesday while other heavily armed vehicles moved into public places to guard Russia’s Black Sea fleet in the Crimean port, as Russian President Vladimir Putin further ratcheted up the pressure on Ukraine’s caretaker government Wednesday.
Earlier, Russia placed 150,000 troops near the Ukrainian border on alert and ordered urgent exercises to test combat readiness. The unprecedented moves — which included men wearing combat gear, ski masks and armed with assault rifles searching vehicles 40 kiolmetres north of Sevastopol — sent a clear signal to Kyiv and to the West of Russia’s determination to continue to defend what it regards as its interests, and the interests of Ukraine’s large Russian minority, in places such as the Crimea.
While obviously designed to intimidate Kyiv, what Putin was also doing was reassuring anxious ethnic Russians in Ukraine that they had not been abandoned.
Ukraine’s deepening political fault lines, and the potential for mayhem, were not only evident in Sevastopol and Moscow. They were on clear display Wednesday 100 kilometres to the north in Simferopol. Crimean Tatars loyal to Kyiv and chanting “allahu akbar” clashed with a group of Russian-Ukrainians who shouted their support for Moscow. A group of Tatars pushed their way past riot police and into the Crimean parliament where they succeeded in stopping debate on a motion to secede from Ukraine. source – National Post
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev’s new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around.
“I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet,” said Olexander Turchinov, acting president since the removal of Viktor Yanukovich last week. “Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Russia’s acting envoy in Kiev for immediate consultations.
There were mixed signals from Moscow, which put fighter jets along its western borders on combat alert, but earlier said it would take part in discussions on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) financial package for Ukraine. Ukraine has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to stave off bankruptcy.
The fear of military escalation prompted expressions of concern from the West, with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urging Russia not to do anything that would “escalate tension or create misunderstanding”.
Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski called the seizure of government buildings in the Crimea a “very dangerous game”.
“This is a drastic step, and I’m warning those who did this and those who allowed them to do this, because this is how regional conflicts begin,” he told a news conference. source – Reuters