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Hundreds of gunmen surround Ukraine military base

Does Ukraine Have The Military Might To Face Russia?

PEREVALNE, Ukraine (AP) - As hundreds of armed men surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea on Sunday, world leaders and Ukraine's new prime minister urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull back his military.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Russia's military incursion into Ukraine "an incredible act of aggression" - comments that came a day after Russian forces took over the strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine without firing a shot.

In Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said there was no reason for Russia to invade Ukraine and warned that "we are on the brink of disaster."

But so far, his new government and other countries have been powerless to react to Russian military tactics. Armed men in uniforms without insignia have moved freely about the peninsula, occupying airports, smashing equipment at an air base and besieging a Ukrainian infantry base.

Putin has defied calls from the West to pull back his troops, insisting that Russia has a right to protect its interests and those of Russian-speakers in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine.

Russia has long wanted to reclaim the lush Crimean Peninsula, which was part of Russia until 1954. It's Black Sea Fleet is stationed there and nearly 60 percent of Crimea's residents identify themselves as Russian.

Ukraine's population of 46 million has divided loyalties between Russia and Europe, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the EU, while eastern and southern regions like Crimea look to Russia for support.

Unidentified troops pulled up to the Ukrainian military base at Perevalne on the Crimean Peninsula in a convoy that included at least 13 trucks and four armored vehicles with mounted machine guns. The trucks carried 30 soldiers each and had Russian license plates.

A dozen Ukrainian soldiers, some with clips in their rifles, placed a tank at the base's gate, leaving the two sides in a tense standoff.

Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, announced late Saturday that he had ordered Ukraine's armed forces to be at full readiness because of the threat of "potential aggression." He also said he had ordered stepped-up security at nuclear power plants, airports and other strategic infrastructure.

But the U.S. and other Western governments have few options to counter Russia's military moves.

In Brussels, NATO's secretary general said Russia had violated the U.N. charter with its military action in Ukraine, and he urged Moscow to "de-escalate the tensions." NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke before a meeting Sunday of the alliance's political decision-making body to discuss the crisis.

Ukraine is not a NATO member, meaning the U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to its defense. But Ukraine has taken part in some alliance military exercises and contributed troops to its response force.

Kerry, interviewed on Sunday news shows in the U.S., raised the possibility of boycotting the G-8 summit, which is to be held in June in Sochi, the Russia resort that just hosted the Winter Olympics. He also discussed visa bans, asset freezes, and trade and investment penalties. Kerry said he spoke with foreign ministers for G-8 and other nations on Saturday, and says everyone is prepared 'to go to the hilt" to isolate Russia.

President Barack Obama spoke with Putin by telephone for 90 minutes Saturday and expressed his "deep concern" about "Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity," the White House said. Obama warned that Russia's "continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation."

In Moscow, thousands marched Sunday in a pro-invasion rally one day after Russia's parliament gave Putin a green light to use military force in Ukraine. At least 10,000 people bearing Russian flags marched freely through the city, while dozens of people demonstrating on Red Square against an invasion of Ukraine were quickly detained by Russian riot police.

The new Ukrainian government came to power last week following months of pro-democracy protests against a pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, and his decision to turn Ukraine toward Russia instead of the European Union. Yanukovych fled to Russia after more than 80 people died, most of them demonstrators killed by police. He insists he's still president.

Since then, tensions have risen sharply between the two capitals.

The Interfax news agency reported the speaker of Crimea's legislature, Vladimir Konstantinov, as saying the local authorities did not recognize the government in Kiev. He said a planned referendum on March 30 would ask voters about the region's future status.

The White House said the U.S. will suspend participation in preparatory meetings for the Group of Eight economic summit planned.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Europe 1 radio that planning for the summit should be put on hold. France "condemns the Russian military escalation" in Ukraine, and Moscow must "realize that decisions have costs," he said Sunday.

"We are on a very dangerous track of increasing tensions," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement. "(But) "it is still possible to turn around. A new division of Europe can still be prevented."

Join the discussion

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Davie2743 March 02 2014 at 12:42 PM

I heard President Obama was thinking of sending Dennis Rodman to Ukraine to act as an arbiter of the dispute.

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1 reply
user349842 Davie2743 March 02 2014 at 12:44 PM

Weak president, really? He's doing more than Cheney/Bush did when Putin invaded Georgia! What would you rather see happen?

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1 reply
stwild user349842 March 02 2014 at 12:57 PM

Let's get with the program User. You've made this same statement twice. I'm sure Cheney and Bush got flack for Georgia. It's Obama's turn now.

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kssking1952 March 02 2014 at 12:56 PM


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x777xxx March 02 2014 at 1:45 PM

What's the beef ? Russia didn't do anything to us when we traveled half way around the world and bombed the living daylights out of three Muslim countries and took two over and still in one today and we have the nerve to be upset cause they crossed there border and try and restore order in a country that more then half of its people are Russian.

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boudicca55 March 02 2014 at 5:12 PM

I have read so many comments from Americans asking why we care about what's happening in Ukraine. I can tell you why I care. I care because I suspect these tenacious, valiant, patriotic Ukrainian resistance fighters are going to continue to refuse to back down. I think they will fight for their country's independence as the U.S. fought the British in the 18th century. But this is a different era in terms of the technology of war and I fear Putin's forces will cut them down and slaughter them en masse. Some of those casualties will likely include people I know, the Ukrainians who immigrated to my American city who are heading back to the native land to fight. I want it to stop and I don't believe anyone will stop it. I feel sickened and sad. Regardless of anything else--America's own problems or anyone's political view on the situation--it is a human tragedy. That's why I care.

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4 replies
ugoa March 02 2014 at 12:59 PM

Russsia has no fear of the USA or any faith that our President has the ….s to stand up to them. We need to take an aggressive stand this time or the world well see us as nothing but a big bag of wind with no courage to say what we mean and mean what we say!

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1 reply
ksnowkat133 ugoa March 02 2014 at 1:13 PM

Let's look at our Military cut down to the 40's size. We have no business getting involved with Russia. Look at the mess we are already in.

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chuckcgann March 02 2014 at 12:59 PM

see the uninformed are at there key boards, you my not like Obama I fall into that party! But we need to know the whole story & it takes a little more info than what the internet or local news tells us!

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leardryva March 02 2014 at 12:59 PM

Maybe this is what Obama meant when he was caught whispering to Putin that he will have more flexibility to work with him after his re-election? Is not attending the G-8 Obama's ace in the hole? Doesn't seem like he has a strong hand to me. Wait till Putin turns off Ukraines nat'l gas supply and watch the s... hit the fan!

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1 reply
Steve leardryva March 02 2014 at 1:27 PM

Actually, Shutting off Ukraines Nat'l gas supply was the first thing I thought would happen.

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KENT March 02 2014 at 1:00 PM

WOW, This is a Quandry, and could get a lot worse. Unsure on thoughts as it seems Eastern Ukraine and Crimean part of Ukraine are very pro-Russian, yet western part is not. The people in the eastern part must decide who they want their allegiance to be towards- to themselves (own state), towards the West(Europe) or to Russia. Crimea as an autonomous region possibly should be a part of Russia and maybe even some other provinces in Eastern Ukraine. With the Russian Black Fleet nearby and Russian culture and language infused throughout much of this area, it may be up to the leaders of the Ukrainian Government ( unfortunatel days old) but also for Western Ukraine to decide and accept the outcome of losing eastern part of Ukraine. Is this what majority of people in Eastern Ukraine want? Hopefully this can be resolved without violence.
Any US involvement militarily would be ridiculous, Ukraine is not a NATO member. Now if this were Poland that is another story

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3 replies
wra3577984 March 02 2014 at 1:02 PM

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Imagine.....Obama has already attained all his goals during his tenure in office; it’s astounding, he has managed to downsize the values we Americans hold to be the bona fide’s of this nation; while at the same time marginalized the perceived strength of the U.S.A around the world. Astonishing as it may seem, foreign leaders like Putin have absolutely no respect for Obama or his entourage of followers. Think about it for a moment of two it wasn’t that long ago our beloved Secretary of State John Kerry couldn’t get his call returned by a so called world leader.

Imagine...while the world observes our wild eyed sage stumble about as if a sleep walker, looking for a mad hatter or a hit on his youthful fantasies of a refer-mans dreams come true. Our refer man has managed to expand the welfare roll’s here in the U.S.A to an alarming percentage rate teetering at 50% of the populace; while doing all in his power to neuter our Armed Forces. Talk about a roller coaster ride on the wild-side; where democracy and percentages are clashing on the socialist tracks aka Obama’s rhetorical promises, gifts and giveaways to his followers.

Imagine....parsed-words, mendacity, red-lines and threats are all part and parcel of Obama and his follower’s empty rhetoric; if not for the repeated lies of his protégé, Mrs. Rice., chances are Obama would have been impeached during his campaign for reelection for his repeated lies, ‘your can keep your Doctor and insurance company’. Six and a half million insurance policies canceled, representing three people to a policy, mean’s eighteen million folks lost their health insurance coverage as a result of Obamacara and Obama’s lies.

Imagine....while the world around us goes up in flames, smiling pundits like David Gregory, George Stephanopoulos and their ilk representing the mainstream news media; appeared to be livid with Jan Brewer’s veto on a subject near and dear to their hearts. They seem as if all aglow and abuzz regarding the plight of their favorite subject, gay-rights being layered over by the Governors veto, in its efforts to protect the rights of the artistically inclined cake-bakers in Arizona who may or not be artistically in sink with the idea of a joyous wedding-cake for the nuptials of the lucky couple. I mean think about it for a moment, doesn’t the poor artistically inclined baker have any rights when it comes to spreading the icing around on his cakes and cookies. Let’s see; while our wunderkinds are discussing cookies and cakes Russian troops have marched into the Ukraine. Has anyone given any thoughts to the notions term limits? Ain’t life grand in Pixie Hollow? WFR

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1 reply
rmg21943 wra3577984 March 02 2014 at 1:40 PM

are you that stupid? jan brewer vetoed an anti-gay law not a pro-gay law. buy a clue!

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automeris1 March 02 2014 at 1:02 PM

This is a no brainer. Let the largely Russian and Russian speaking people in the Eastern and Southeastern part of the ukraine remain with Russia and let Kiev and the Western Ukraine joun the west. We can fight World War Three over this and nobody wins in the end .

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1 reply
johnmustang automeris1 March 02 2014 at 1:12 PM

That sounds very much like how Nazi Germany invaded parts of Europe and then the British Prime Minister cam up with a peace plan that allowed it, however look at the results of that one. The area they want to take is rich in resources, not just has a Russian population. It's taking land without the Ukraine government's approval and they shouldn't approve. Maybe Mexico should invade Texas and take it over, though they wouldn't live long if they tried.

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