HOW IRONIC AMERICA WARN ANOTHER COUNTY TO NOT GET INVOLVED IN ANOTHER'S... OH GOD! This is about Ukraine, make no mistake, Russia feels it MAY loose more territory. As we know Russia fell into 32 different countries 15 years ago or so. OBAMA! Warns PUTIN! To not get involved. This is the SAME USA who go around the World getting involved. Can anyone else see the irony? THIS IS WWIII Territory here, I am scared.... Ukraine is now (sadly) a battle between East and West.
Vladimir Putin puts troops in western Russia on alert and orders drill to test combat readiness
Protesters are involved in a confrontation outside the regional city in the Crimean capital of Simferopol
New Ukraine authorities due to unveil cabinet after disbanding Berkut riot police
Russian foreign minister condemns "rise of fascism" in western Ukraine
William Hague and John Kerry say Ukraine must not be a battleground between East and West
Ukraine revolution: 150,000 Russian troops on alert : Video
The US warned Moscow to be "very careful" in its judgements after Vladimir Putin put armed forces in western Russia on alert, as tensions mounted in the pro-Russian Crimea over the overthrow of Moscow ally Viktor Yanukovych by pro-European protesters. Amid fears the country could fragment in the struggle between its pro-Russian and pro-European regions, Mr Putin flexed his military muscle by ordering war games involving 150,000 troops along the Ukrainian border. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, raised the spectre of an East-West standoff as he insisted the US and Russia did not need to get into an "old cold war confrontation" over the country. He called on the Kremlin to "keep its word" over the unity of Ukraine, as the White House urged "outside actors" in the region to respect the country's sovereignty. NATO also turned up the pressure on Russia, saying it would continue to support "Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development and the principle of the inviolability of frontiers".
He denied that the drill was, "generally speaking", linked to events in Ukraine. But he said it would include military exercises "on Russia's borders with other countries, including Ukraine". Forces must "be ready to bomb unfamiliar testing grounds" as part of the drill, Mr Shoigu told a Defence Ministry meeting. Later, Ukraine's interim leaders tried to shore up the confidence of the Euromaidan movement as they announced the nomination as prime minister of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a top ally of recently freed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, before a crowd of some 25,000 in Kiev's Independence Square. The announcement of the strongly pro-Western cabinet was greeted with cheers in the symbolic heart of the pro-European movement, a stark contrast to the anger on display in the Crimea. A historical flashpoint, the autonomous eastern region of Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 and remains home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet and a heavily ethnic Russian population who have been enraged by events in Kiev.
- Warships at the ready
In the Crimean capital of Simferopol, supporters of Ukraine's revolution and their pro-Russian opponents were today embroiled in a confrontation outside the regional assembly, where members were holding an emergency session to discuss the crisis gripping the country. A crowd of several thousand people shouting pro and anti-revolutionary slogans have gathered outside the assembly, which pro-Russian protesters claim they are defending from the "fascists" who have taken power in the rest of the country. Small scuffles broke out as the two sides pushed and shoved each other, wielding pepper spray and batons. An elderly man reportedly died of a heart attack in the melee. Pro-European demonstrators, most of them ethnic Tatars, rallied under a pale-blue flag, shouting: "Ukraine! Ukraine!" and the Maidan's refrain of "down with the gang!" The pro-Russian crowds, some of them cossacks in silk and lambswool hats, shouted back "Crimea is Russian!".
- Activists hold Crimean Tatar (C-L) and Ukrainian national flags (C-R) as they shout slogans such as 'Crimea is not Russia, Glory to Ukraine' during a rally in Simferopol, Crimea
But the head of the regional assembly rejected demands to discuss a possible split from Ukraine at today's emergency session, saying such a move would be a "provocation". Earlier, Cossack protesters hung the Russian flag across the assembly's facade, according to Russia's Interfax news agency, calling on the government to ignore what they regard as illegal resolutions by the new authorities in Kiev. Moscow has denounced the removal of Mr Yanukovych as tantamount to a coup, and has become increasingly concerned by swift moves by Ukraine's parliament to break away from the Russian sphere of influence. The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement today that extremists were "imposing their will" and whipping up religious tension in the country - where there are deep-running rivalries between Orthodox Christian churches - threatening to tear "an even bigger schism in Ukrainian society". Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister has said that Moscow's "policy of non-intervention" will continue, a stance reaffirmed today by the speaker of the uppoer parliament, Valentina Matviyenko. But the combat drills in the western district bordering Ukraine are likely to inflame tensions. "They wouldn't have done it now unless they wanted to have a political effect. If they had a planned exercise at this time in that command they would have cancelled it - if they wanted to de-escalate the situation," a former British Army commander said. "The converse is obviously true." The Telegraph's David Blair in Kiev said: "Russia’s decision to place its forces near the Ukrainian frontier on high alert sends another pointed signal to its western neighbour. The Kremlin wants no-one to misunderstand its strength of feeling over the downfall of a friendly pro-Russian regime in Kiev, and the possible emergence of a new pro-Western government in Ukraine. "But military alerts of this kind have been ordered before – and the term itself means little. What exactly will the armed forces in western Russia be doing today that they weren’t doing yesterday? "Vladimir Putin’s latest decision is best viewed in the same light as the withdrawal of Russia’s ambassador from Kiev. The goal is to send a pointed message, perhaps timed to coincide with the possible formation of Ukraine’s new government. But the alert probably means nothing more than that. In particular, it emphatically does not suggest that Russian tanks are about to start rolling over the border." The United States has warned Russia against interference in the crisis, saying military intervention by Moscow would be a "grave mistake". Today three of Ukraine's post-Soviet leaders - who included former Moscow ally Leonid Kuchma - issued a joint statement accusing Russia of "resorting to direct intervention in the political life of Crimea". Russia must "show respect to the choices made by the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian government," said a statement posted by former president Viktor Yushchenko and also featuring the names of Kuchma and former leader Leonid Kravchuk.
On Tuesday the US and Britain sought to defuse the crisis, insisting the country must not be a battleground between East and West. "This is not a zero-sum game, it is not a West versus East," said John Kerry, the US secretary of state, after meeting William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, on Tuesday. But today, the question of Georgia threatened to further stir tensions, as Washington urged the former Soviet republic to integrate further with NATO and sign a partnership agreement with the European Union this year. During an unfortunately timed visit from the country's prime minister, Washington also renewed demands that Russia withdraw troops from disputed enclaves it now occupies there. Mr Kerry insisted that US policy toward the states that once made up the Soviet Union is not aimed at reducing Russia's influence in its neighbourhood. But it is nevertheless likely to irritate Moscow, particularly given the origins of the Ukraine crisis in a dispute over an EU partnership agreement. Mr Lavrov this morning called on Europe's democracy watchdog to condemn the rise of "nationalist and neo-fascist sentiment" in western Ukraine. In a statement, his ministry said the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the organisation should also condemn moves to ban the Russian language and to turn the "Russian-speaking population into 'non-citizens'". On Tuesday, the country's interim president, Oleksander Turchynov called an emergency meeting to discuss "the question of not allowing any signs of separatism and threats to Ukraine's territorial integrity - meaning the events which have taken place in Crimea - and punishing people guilty of this," according to an official statement. In the fiercely pro-Russian Crimean port city of Sebastopol, the home of Russia's Black Sea fleet, the newly installed mayor announced the formation of vigilante 'self-defence' units to defend the region against the "fascist" revolutionaries in Kiev. Alexei Chaliy also said he would guarantee the salaries of the Berkut riot police, which was this morning officially disbanded by Mr Turchnyov. Video has emerged of members of the feared riot police begging for forgiveness for their role in repressing the Kiev protests, as they knelt in front of members of the pro-European movement on Tuesday night.
Leaked documents published on the website of an opposition MP revealed that Mr Yanukovych had drawn up a large-scale "anti-terrorist" operation involving 22,000 security forces to "cleanse" protesters from Kiev as the crisis escalated. Codenamed "Operation Wave", the carefully planned assault envisaged shutting down Kiev, switching off opposition TV channels and leading crowds of demonstrators into a "trap" set by the security forces to "clean out" the main protest camp on the capital's Independence Square. Meanwhile, thousands of security officers would have attempted to "neutralise" a major rightwing group that made up the hard core of the protest movement's self-defence group. It appears that plan was partly set in motion last Thursday - the deadliest day of the protests - but for unknown reasons some elements of the operation failed to materialise, allowing the demonstrators to take the advantage.