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:
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.
Ukraine has ordered a full military mobilisation in response to Russia’s build-up of its forces in Crimea. (read more of the Russian troops beinf deployed here)
Prime Minster Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the country was “on the brink of disaster”.
US President Barack Obama has called Russian troop deployments a “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty”. (read more of the US threat here)
Nato is conducting emergency talks on the crisis. Its secretary-general has said Russia’s actions “threatened peace and security in Europe”.
Several other measures were announced on Sunday by national security officials:
- The armed forces would be put on “full combat readiness”.
- Reserves to be mobilised and trained
- Ukraine’s foreign minister will seek the help of US and UK leaders in guaranteeing its security
- Emergency headquarters to be set up
- Increased security at key sites, including nuclear plants.
- Airspace closed to all non-civilian aircraft.
Russian troops have been seen digging trenches on the Crimean border. Heavily armed groups (russian) continue to occupy key sites on the peninsula, including airports and communications hubs, although there has been no actual violence.
Some fear this is the start of World War III
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
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.
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.
North Korea launched four short-range missiles into the East Sea — also known as the Sea of Japan — the South Korean Defense Ministry said Thursday.
The missiles, which do not appear to have been sent toward South Korean waters, were fired toward Russia, fell into the sea and are considered a very low-level matter, the Pentagon said.
The missiles were fired just days after the start of annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States that North Korea opposes. The joint military exercises routinely spark tension between North Korea, South Korea and the United States.
For example, last year’s exercises triggered weeks of heightened tensions between the nations and North Korean war threats, including an incident in May when the country fired up to six short-range missiles.
The South Korean and U.S. militaries have not been specific about where they are conducting their drills, and it was unclear if the missiles were fired in the direction of the exercises.
Police in the Austrian capital Vienna have arrested a suspected Russian hitman, who was reportedly living for at least three years under a false ID. The unidentified man, 38, fled Russia five years ago as he was being investigated for murders in the city of Novosibirsk, Austrian police said.
He is said to have carried out four killings and one attempted killing.
It is expected he will be handed over to Russia as soon as possible, Austrian state TV reports.
In keeping with Austrian privacy laws, he was named only as Anatoly R, the Associated Press says. He is said to have carried out his alleged crimes between 1997 and 2004 in the city in western Siberia. The suspect is also known by the nickname Celentano, an apparent reference to the Italian singer and actor Adriano Celentano, who was popular in the Soviet Union.