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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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rdd2897 March 02 2014 at 2:23 PM

There is english speaking people in Mexico should we invade Mexico they are destroying our econimy

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1 reply
x777xxx rdd2897 March 02 2014 at 2:31 PM

Yes we should then after we take the country over give them 4 trillion for a better life, Heck lets make Mexico a common wealth of America they all the people living there can get welfare, ebt food card free apt cell phone cable and they would not even have to cross the border.

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FRANK A March 02 2014 at 4:35 PM

those od you who say this action is non of business, you are right on. Putin will make minced meat out of Obama. We have become sissys to the world.

Frank Anderson
North Dakota
Vietnam Vet. 1971

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1 reply
rmg21943 FRANK A March 02 2014 at 5:11 PM

do you think bin Laden and Gadhaffi and hundreds of dead Taliban and al Qaeda leaders
think the US is sissified.

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Saul Nirenberg March 02 2014 at 5:37 PM

IT'S ABOUT TIME THAT AOL DELETES THOSE COMMENTS INTENDED TO GET PEOPLE TO WORK AT HOME .

AS LONG AS THE ANSWER INCLUDED NOTHING ABOUT THE TOPIC, WHY DOES AOL ALLOW THEM?

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3 replies
PETEY March 02 2014 at 4:35 PM

Putin is holding all the cards and he knows Barry is all talk! The Ukraine will be under Putin in no time.He has just been waiting for a chance like this.

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2 replies
frozenbull PETEY March 02 2014 at 4:43 PM

That's Kerry ,not Barry . Although I like barry better.

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rmg21943 PETEY March 02 2014 at 4:48 PM

OBL and Gaddhafi know Obama is much more than "all talk"!

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justice March 02 2014 at 12:53 PM

Half the Ukrainians want to stay aligned with Russia and want their ousted president back. So be it! Let the Russians take over. US KEEP OUT!!!! If Ukraine as a whole wanted more of Western democracy and were being tortured or abused by Russia, that would be a totally different scenario. That is NOT the case. We have NO business there whatsoever, and we can't fight city hall every time a group of rebels wants a different lifestyle from the rest of their countrymen.

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2 replies
smokyjerry justice March 02 2014 at 12:57 PM

ur a public school douch bag

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SUSIE justice March 02 2014 at 1:01 PM

A RUSSIAN INVASION IS NEVER GOOD. MY FATHER WAS A HUNGARIAN FREEDOM FIGHTER IN '56. MY PARENTS HAD TO FLEE HUNGARY FOR THEIR LIVES. RUSSIAN OCCUPATION IS NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE AT ANYTIME. DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT THE RUSSIAN'S WILL STOP WITH THE UKRAINE?

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kssking1952 March 02 2014 at 12:56 PM

THE US HAS NO RIGHT TO SAY A DAM THING. LOOK AT WHAT WE DID

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sammy3 March 02 2014 at 4:42 PM

Isn't that an amzing fact: "72 % of those that voted for Obama does not know who the VP is"? What does that tell ya --- DUH!!!!!

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1 reply
sammy3 sammy3 March 02 2014 at 4:49 PM

FACT: 70% of all the people who voted for Obama... CANNOT TELL YOU WHAT OFFICE BIDEN HOLDS and thin PUTIN is a Tennis Player... The Hispanics, and blacks helped tremendously to elect, and re-elect this moron. Can the whites hold these idiots responsible for the next 200 years as we have been?

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michaeljdimatteo March 02 2014 at 4:52 PM

Alas, Comrade Putin chooses to fight an economically disasterous war, when he could so easily win the hearts and minds of Ukrainians and informed people all over the globe by simply stepping back and letting the Ukrainians choose their own government.

Think about it Vladamir! These were our brothers and sisters in arms and died by the millions with their brother and sister Russians during the Great Patriotic War.

"Socialism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen."
[info][add][mail][note]
Leon Trotsky

"A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction. "
[info][add][mail][note]
Leo Tolstoy

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jfporto March 02 2014 at 4:52 PM

from what I see the people of Crimea want this Russian invasion , lets not get involved in this, as long as the Ukraine people get to keep their power in the mainland they should just give it to Russia as a token of good faith, lets promote peace.

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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.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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