coup d’etat

Russia demands Crimea’s surrender, world on high alert

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The ukranian military forces currently in Crimea have been given unitl 3:00 GMT to surrender or face assault. The limit was stablished by the head of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Aleksander Vitko, threatening to attack “across Crimea”.

The Western Powers, specially the United States, have condemned these actions as a direct violation towards Ukraine’s sovereignity. (read more about the US threat towards Russia here)

Russia is now said to be in de facto control of the Crimea region.

Ukraine has ordered full mobilisation to counter the intervention.

No shots have yet been fired in the region, which has a majority of Russian speakers and a largely pro-Russian local government.

Will World War Three start today?

Want to know how it all started? Read the following articles:

Ukraine’s Crimea  region asks on Putin for

Russia confirmed to send troops to Ukraine

Ukraine in troop mobilisation over Russia

Ukraine navy’s head swears allegiance to Russia

Ukraine’s navy head swears allegiance to Crimea

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The newly appointed head of Ukraine’s navy has sworn allegiance to the Crimea region, in the presence of its unrecognised pro-Russian leader. Rear Admiral Denys Berezovsky was only made head of the navy on Saturday, as the government in Kiev reacted to the threat of Russian invasion.

Two explosions have been heard in Simferopol, Crimea’s capital, with no official details yet available.

Nato’s chief has asked Russia to withdraw its forces to its bases.

“We call on Russia to de-escalate tensions… to withdraw its forces to its bases and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, speaking in Brussels.

Ukraine was a “valued partner” for Nato and should be allowed to determine its own future, he said.

Russia confirmed to send troops to Ukraine, world on high alert

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Russia’s upper house of parliament has approved President Putin’s request for Russian forces to be used in Ukraine. He had asked that Russian forces be used “until the normalisation of the political situation in the country”. (read about what the US says of this here)

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, where many ethnic Russians live.

Ukraine’s acting President Olexander Turchynov said he had put the army on full alert but urged people to remain calm. In a televised address, he asked Ukrainians to bridge divisions in the country and said they must not fall for provocations.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was standing next to Mr Turchynov, said he was “convinced” Russia would not intervene militarily “as this would be the beginning of war and the end of all relations”.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin submitted the request for troops “in connection with the extraordinary situation in Ukraine and the threat to the lives of Russian citizens”, the Kremlin said.

The upper house went into a special session almost immediately after Mr Putin made the request, and swiftly approved it.

Some fear this is the start of World War III

Ukraine’s Crimea region calls on Putin for help

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The new pro-Russian leader of Ukraine’s southern Crimea region has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help in maintaining peace, as international concerns mount that Moscow may intervene militarily in the crisis.

A Kremlin spokesman said Russia “will not disregard” Crimean Premier Sergey Aksyonov’s request for help “in maintaining peace and accord in Crimea.”

Aksyonov, who was installed as the region’s premier after armed men took over the Crimean parliament building Thursday, said security forces “are unable to efficiently control the situation in the republic,” in comments broadcast on Russian state channel Russia 24.

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Pro and anti Russian protesters clashed on Febreuary 26

Consequently, he said, he was taking charge of security. His actions are also a response to Kiev’s actions in appointing a new police chief in Crimea on Friday without consulting the parliament, he said.

“I am appealing to Russian President Vladimir Putin to provide assistance in ensuring peace and accord” in Crimea, he said.

Russia could send a “limited” armed force to Crimea to ensure security of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and Russian citizens living there, the Speaker of Russia’s Upper House of Parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, said Saturday, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

The crisis in Crimea has echoed round the world, with the U.N. Security Council president holding a private meeting about the crisis enveloping Ukraine on Friday and world leaders calling on armed groups not to attempt to challenge Ukrainian sovereignty.

Mass arrest of protesters in Russia

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Russian police have made nearly 500 arrests at opposition rallies in the country’s two main cities, including several well-known protest figures.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was among those picked up in Moscow on Monday evening, as he attended an unapproved rally near the Kremlin.

He and others have appeared in court, charged with offences that entail a fine or detention of up to 15 days.

The rallies were called to protest at sentences passed on other activists.

Seven people had received prison terms of up to four years on Monday, for rioting and attacking police at a demonstration against Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term in May 2012, in Bolotnaya Square, Moscow. Human rights organisation Amnesty International condemned the sentences as a “hideous injustice”, at the end of a “show trial”.

While the rallies on Monday in Moscow and St Petersburg were called to protest at the Bolotnaya sentences, some demonstrators also made shows of solidarity with the protesters in Ukraine, who brought down President Viktor Yanukovych last week.

Ukraine, interim president named

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Parliament in Ukraine has named its speaker, Oleksandr Turchynov, as interim president.

Turchynov takes charge following the dismissal of President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday (read more of this here) . Mr Turchynov told MPs they had until Tuesday to form a new unity government.

Parliament also voted to seize Mr Yanukovych’s luxury estate near Kiev, which protesters entered on Saturday.

The whereabouts of Mr Yanukovych, who described parliament’s decision to vote him out as a coup, remain unclear.

Thousands of opposition supporters remain in Independence Square, where the atmosphere is described as calm, after weeks of violent clashes ending in the death of dozens.

Lebanon, a new government

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A new Lebanese government was announced Saturday by Suhail Bawji, secretary general of Lebanon’s Council of Ministers. He announced the formation of the new Cabinet and named the new ministers in a televised news conference.

The new government brings months of political infighting to an end following Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s resignation in March 2013.

Tammam Salam was named in a presidential decree as the head of the new government, the state news agency NNA reported.

Another presidential decree accepted Salam’s suggested Cabinet and named the new ministers, while a third formally accepted Mikati’s resignation.

There have been increased tensions in Lebanon in recent months, where sectarian divisions reflect those in neighboring war-torn Syria, and a number of explosions have rocked the capital. Mikati urged the Lebanese people last month to overcome their differences and engage in dialogue or see the situation worsen.