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PM: Won't budge '1 centimeter' from Ukrainian land

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - As separatists in Crimea kept up pressure for unification with Moscow, Ukraine on Sunday solemnly commemorated the 200th anniversary of the birth of its greatest poet, with the prime minister vowing not to give up "a single centimeter" of Ukrainian territory.

"This is our land," Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a crowd gathered at the Kiev statue to writer and nationalist Taras Shevchenko. "Our fathers and grandfathers have spilled their blood for this land. And we won't budge a single centimeter from Ukrainian land. Let Russia and its president know this."

"We're one country, one family and we're here together with our kobzar (bard) Taras," said acting President Oleksandr Turchynov.

A choir sang, and people laid bouquets at the monument to the son of peasant serfs who is considered the father of modern Ukrainian literature and is a national hero.

Later Sunday, following an extraordinary meeting of the Ukrainian government, Yatsenyuk announced he would be flying this week to the United States for high-level talks on "resolution of the situation in Ukraine," the Interfax news agency reported.

Crimea, a strategic peninsula in southern Ukraine, has become the flashpoint in the battle for Ukraine, where three months of protests sparked by President Victor Yanukovych's decision to ditch a significant treaty with the 28-nation European Union after strong pressure from Russia led to his downfall. A majority of people in Crimea identify with Russia, and Moscow's Black Sea Fleet is based in Sevastopol, as is Ukraine's.

This weekend, Russia reinforced its armed presence on the peninsula. Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign minister ruled out any dialogue with Ukraine's new authorities, whom he dismissed as the puppets of extremists.

The regional parliament in Crimea has set a March 16 referendum on leaving Ukraine to join Russia. Senior lawmakers in Moscow have said they would support the move, ignoring sanctions threats and warnings from President Barack Obama that the vote would violate international law.

In Simferopol, the Crimean capital, a crowd of more than 4,000 people turned out Sunday to endorse unification with Russia. On Lenin Square, a naval band played World War II songs as old women sang along, and dozens of tricolor Russian flags fluttered in the cold wind.

"Russians are our brothers," Crimean Parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov said. He asked the crowd how it would vote in the referendum a week hence.

"Russia! Russia!" came the loud answer.

"We are going back home to the Motherland," said Konstantinov.

Across town, at a park where a large bust of Shevchenko stands, around 500 people, some wearing yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flags on their shoulders like capes, came out to oppose unification with Russia. They chanted "No to the referendum!" and "Ukraine!" People handed out fliers, one of which laid out the economic troubles that joining Russia would supposedly cause.

"We will not allow a foreign boot that wants to stand on the heads of our children," one of the speakers, Alla Petrova, said. "The people are not scared. We are not scared to come out here and speak."

Some pro-Russians drove by, shouting "Moscow, Moscow!" from their cars, but there was no trouble.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who appeared on the BBC Sunday morning, described Russia's entering Crimea as a "big miscalculation."

He also said the March 16 referendum was happening "ridiculously quickly." Hague added, "The world will not be able to regard that as free or fair."

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
HENRY March 09 2014 at 11:48 AM


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1 reply
dbailey880 HENRY March 09 2014 at 12:16 PM

Henry is right. Empire building, control of raw materials, world markets, subjugation and control of territories, we've read all about it, and as the temperature of our planet has risen threatening much of life, this poster is correct. STOP THE FIGHTING AND THINK ABOUT LIFE! ALL LIFE!

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JetfireJK March 09 2014 at 11:18 AM

United States of Amnesia

I look at all the "excuses" in the world
Thinking different than a ordinary girl
From my learning that in nineteen eighty five
Our debtor nation strove -"keep the dream alive "

"Who are we, please?" I asked myself just today
Conquer countries? Unless they see things our way?
One by one we stumble through the Afghan land
Now we're in Iraq, Syria! Stop Iran!

China says, "US gossips, ignores own issues"
homeless, health, economy, jobs, tuition
Russia and "China" are two super powers
Never would our largest "creditor" coward

Sochi cost 50 billion and years to bring
I don't believe media reports of things
Place the blame for the whole entire world to see
Five star hotels with shower photos! No indeed!

In "Name of Freedom" citizens are perplexed
Pay "close attention" just 'where' we will go next?
We need more "excuses" better than before
If people see this "pattern", will be the end of war!

In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way. President Franklin D. Roosevelt

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jeffwlmngtn March 09 2014 at 12:00 PM

azeka3 & Texas kitty it will never happen 1 you can't get the American people to agree on anything and stand together as one.Now when it's all said and done and Red Dawn truly happens where will Texans stand, will Texans just protect Texas or will they ad in the fight for our whole Country's freedom, that day is coming, it won't be like trying to keep emigrants from crossing the borders we will be hit from all sides Remember what happen to the Alamo. same scenario, we have to many nationalities in this Country many in which come from Countries that hate America, kinda makes you think what the true outcome will be like, well remember ww2 Japanese emigrants were herded up like cattle and put in camp' s all across America, In the movie Red Dawn they did the same thing to American's. I for one will Fight and this Government of our's will have to pry my weapons out of my dying hands before I sign anything on gun control, And as far as politics goes, Iraq and Afghan were from your beloved sons the Bushes, We lost alot of good men& women for their stupidity and greed, and as it is with Obama it's just a numbers game All politic's sees is $$$$$$$$$$.

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1 reply
kvave jeffwlmngtn March 09 2014 at 12:17 PM

Count me in. Iraq and Afghanistan didnt fail because of our guys. They didnt fail because they were "unjust" wars. They failed because the brilliant Leaders in this Country tried to fight them much like Mcnamara tried to fight Vietnam.

ROE restrictions that caused needless casualties. Instead of backing the wishes of the Citizenry , we propped up Double Dealing Regimes. We knew Arms and Men were Coming from Communist China , pouring in from Iran , but did nothing . (Cambodia?)

Not to mention Enemy Combatants who were re released , to fight again.

With Gun Control U.N. style , a Slashed Military , whom half of enlist not to fight and defend anymore , but rather College and a Paycheck , a Weak "Kum Byah" public now pushing their agenda , Chinese expansion unchecked , and Bomber Bases in Latin America (Russian) you may be right. It may indeed come down to the Fight of Our lives

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ramonbatt March 09 2014 at 11:33 AM

Which 27 countries? Where is NETO ? Sections against Russia? Really? Russia will crush those 27 countries in a heart beat!

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adika3z March 09 2014 at 11:33 AM

ukraine and ussr russia has own RUBLES currencys,
dont let american dollars currencys in ukraine / ussr russia,

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sweetbabi3 March 09 2014 at 12:59 PM

The CIA and State Dept, the paid thugs carrying English speaking signs? Get real.....Cops were being killed and it turned violent...Why is the new PM English speaking and coming to see Obama? Wake up America. Our fingerprints are all over this. Most in Ukraine are Russian speaking and the Eastern part wants to be with Russia. Western part wants the EU. New English speaking PM......coming to see Obama? Wake up America

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1 reply
Kat4Hat sweetbabi3 March 09 2014 at 1:05 PM

We have to insist to investigate the snipers who shot the people on both sides: this is a real crime that may reveal the conductor. The evidence that they were hired by the radical opposition leaders is available on you-tube, a phone call between the Estonian diplomat and Ashton .

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kvave March 09 2014 at 11:35 AM

Then heres the Solution for Ol Putin . This will either make him very happy , or expose him as the liar and landgrabber I think he is :

Offer to move all Ethnic Russians back onto Russian Soil , with their belongings. That way they can be back under their Flag they love so much. And if it is NOT about grabbing Land and Resources , Putin will then back off.

However , if he does not , and continues to push for the LAND , People of the Ukraine , arm yourselves and Resist with ALL means necessary

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1 reply
FRED kvave March 09 2014 at 11:45 AM

Arm themselves? They gave up all their weapons, including nuclear weapons because the US, the Soviets, some European countries promised to defend them if ever anyone did what Putin is doing. But then those promises were signed by Clinton and then resigned by BO in 2009, but then who would trust a democrat's promise? Look at BO's promises in taxes, healthcare, energy, education, spending.... he has lied about everyone one of them, not to mention making us not even close to a space aged society, we have to bum a ride to our space station. What a great leader in his eyes only and many some of those uneducated minions.

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1 reply
kvave FRED March 09 2014 at 11:48 AM

Very True. JS even to Die with a Pick or a Shovel in ones hand would be better than to be under Iron Fisted and Corrupt Soviet Rule once again .

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Still March 09 2014 at 12:52 PM

One thing for sure, we do not need to get in another war. Puntin's going to as he wants, I think , and he most likely already has his mind made up.

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Mr. Arnold March 09 2014 at 12:37 PM

the two biggest fish cakes in the world talking about...well who cares?.

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J. R. Gilbert March 09 2014 at 12:29 PM

This is not our problem, Mr. Obama. Use the $1 Billion you offer to Ukrain to help OUR PEOPLE before you give it away to others.

Let Europe carry their own luggage. The future of Ukrain impacts Europe. Not the USA.

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1 reply
sue J. R. Gilbert March 09 2014 at 1:07 PM

J,R.: Obama is always generous with money.... CORRECTION- OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY... NONE of it is coming out of his pocket.

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