World War III
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.