Russian soldiers take full control of Crimea
Russia has taken de facto armed control in Ukraine’s Crimea region, despite Western demands that it withdraw.
Thousands of Russian troops are securing the region and further armor and ship movements have been reported.
Ukraine has ordered full mobilization, issuing call-up papers and asking for more international support.
Russia says it is protecting its interests and those of Russian-speakers in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine following the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last month.
The crisis hit Russian stock markets on Monday, with Moscow’s main MICEX index dropping 9% in early trading. The rouble fell to a fresh all-time low against the US dollar and Russia’s central bank raised its key lending rate to 7% from 5.5%.
Thousands of newly arrived Russian elite troops far outnumber Ukraine’s military presence with roadblocks cutting off Crimea.
Ukrainian border guards have reported a build-up of armored vehicles on the Russian side of the sea channel dividing Russia and Crimea.
Pro-Russian troops have taken over the ferry terminal in far-eastern Crimea that operates services to Russia.
There have also been further movements of Russian ships in the Black Sea – Sevastopol is the base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Some mobile phone services are reported to be blocked.
Ukrainian navy commanders on Monday confirmed their loyalty to Ukraine, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported, despite an attempt by pro-Russian personnel to enter the navy HQ in Simferopol and force them to switch allegiance.
Ukraine’s interim government has called for more international support to force Russian troops to leave.
While Kiev hopes to resolve this crisis through dialogue, it is now mobilizing its military forces.
Men across Ukraine have been receiving call-up papers and will start reporting for 10 days training from Monday.
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