Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Ben Wedeman and Ian Lee
March 2, 2014
Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) — [Breaking news update at 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday]
Russian forces now “have complete operational control of the Crimean Peninsula,” a senior U.S. administration official said Sunday of the escalating crisis in Ukraine. The United States estimates there are 6,000 Russian ground and naval forces in the region, the official said. Amid the tensions, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Kiev on Tuesday, an Obama administration official said.
[Original story, posted at 3:17 p.m. ET Sunday]
Ukraine mobilizes troops after Russia’s ‘declaration of war’
(CNN) — Ukraine’s new leaders accused neighbor Russia of declaring war, as Kiev mobilized troops and called up military reservists in a rapidly escalating crisis that has raised fears of a conflict.
Amid signs of Russian military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Russian generals led their troops to three bases in the region Sunday, demanding Ukrainian forces surrender and hand over their weapons, Vladislav Seleznyov, spokesman for the Crimean Media Center of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, told CNN.
Speaking by phone, he said Russian troops had blocked access to the bases, but added, “There is no open confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian military forces in Crimea” and said Ukrainian troops continue to protect and serve Ukraine.
“This is a red alert. This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war to my country,” Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.
Speaking in a televised address from the parliament building in the capital, Kiev, he called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to “pull back his military and stick to the international obligations.”
“We are on the brink of the disaster.”