Russian troops take over Crimea, Ukrainian troops on alert, world powers scramble to respond
By End the Lie
Events have escalated rapidly in the Ukraine in Saturday with Russian troops taking over the Crimea region, the Ukrainian military being placed on combat alert and Putin receiving authorization to use force in Crimea.
This comes just a day after it was reported that Russian troops seized an airport in Crimea, though Russian officials denied the reports at the time.
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World powers are now scrambling to respond to the events with a United Nations Security Council meeting, a NATO meeting to be held on Sunday and the White House national security team meeting to discuss potential options.
“President Obama spoke for 90 minutes this afternoon with President Putin of Russia about the situation in Ukraine,” according to the White House.
“President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act,” the White House said, according to The Telegraph. “The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.”
The White House statement continued by stating that the U.S. is calling on Russia to “de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its forces back to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine.”
Obama reportedly said that Russia should have international observers dispatched to Crimea if there are concerns about the Russian population there.
“President Obama urged an immediate effort to initiate a dialogue between Russia and the Ukrainian government, with international facilitation, as appropriate. The United States is prepared to participate,” the White House statement said.
Obama said that the move into the Ukraine would “negatively impact Russia’s standing in the international community.”
The U.S. will be consulting with several multinational bodies immediately and will suspend upcoming participation in preparatory meetings for the G-8.
“Going forward, Russia’s continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation,” the statement said.
Notably, the statement said that Obama has directed the administration to immediately work with international partners on delivering the new Ukrainian government “urgent technical and financial assistance.”
The Russian account said that Putin drew Obama’s attention “to the provocative and criminal actions on the part of ultranationalists who are in fact being supported by the current authorities in Kiev.”
If any further violence spreads to Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, “Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas,” the Kremlin said.
The new Ukrainian government was reportedly powerless to resist the Russian move to fly in additional troops to protect their interests in the Crimea region, according to the Associated Press.
The troop movement might not be limited to Crimea. Voice of America reports that the Russian upper house of parliament gave Russian President Vladimir Putin authorization without specifying where in the country the troops were to be deployed.
RIA Novosti, a Russian state-run news agency, said that there has been a massive spike in applications from Ukrainian citizens seeking refuge.
“The head of the [Russian Federal Migration Service’s] citizenship department, Valentina Kazakova, said 143,000 people had applied for asylum in the last two weeks of February alone,” RIA Novosti reported.
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