russian troops

Photo via ABC News: “A Ukrainian man stands in protest in front of gunmen in unmarked uniforms as they stand guard in Balaklava, on the outskirts of Sevastopol, Ukraine, Saturday, March 1, 2014.”

Looks like war is brewing. The BBC is reporting today that Russia is now giving the Ukraine until 03:00 GMT to surrender or face an assault, and Ukrainian forces are vowing to fight back:

The head of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Aleksander Vitko set the deadline and threatened an attack “across Crimea“.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said Russia was responding to “ultra-nationalist threats”.

Western powers have condemned Moscow’s decision to send troops as a “violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty”.

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

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

The trouble began last month when pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted following months of street protests.

Russia claims its military is protecting human rights in Crimea, but Kiev, the US and Western Europe have condemned the actions.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier that any attempt to seize Crimea would fail, urging allies to give economic and political support to his government.

In other developments:

  • US Vice-President Joe Biden reportedly urges Russia to back a plan to deploy international monitors to Ukraine
  • The G7 pulls out of preparations for a G8 meeting scheduled for June in Russia, sparking an angry reaction from Moscow
  • British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the turmoil in Ukraineis the “biggest crisis” Europe has faced in the 21st Century.
Enhanced by Zemanta