9:15am Saturday update:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine, the Kremlin said Saturday,” reports AP. “Putin said the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine’s strategic region of Crimea. ‘I’m submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country,’ Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin. He sent the request to the Russian legislature’s upper house, which has to approve the motion, according to the constitution. In Crimea, the pro-Russian regional prime minister had earlier claimed control of the military and police there and asked Putin for help in keeping peace, sharpening the discord between the two Slavic neighbor countries. It was the latest escalation following the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president last week by a protest movement aimed at turning Ukraine toward the European Union and away from Russia.”
8am Saturday update:
The situation in Ukraine is moving rapidly, and there is much confusion at this hour about precisely what is happening.
Some reports say 2,000 Russian troops have crossed the border into the southern region of Crimea. Other reports say 6,000 troops.
One thing is clear: Vladmir Putin isn’t listening to President Obama warning to stay out of Ukraine.
Here are some of the latest headlines:
- Pro-Russia leader of Crimea claims military control, coordinates with Russian soldiers (Washington Post)
- Ukraine crisis: Crimea leader appeals to Putin for help (BBC)
- Ukraine says Russia has sent in 6,000 troops (Sky News)
- Krauthammer’s Take: Obama Tells the World We Aren’t Going to Do Anything About Invasion of Ukraine (NRO)
- On Ukraine, Putin holds all the cards and dictates the timetable (Haaretz)
- ORIGINAL POST: (Washington, D.C.) — “Delivering a blunt warning to Moscow, President Barack Obama expressed deep concern Friday over reported military activity inside Ukraine by Russia and warned ‘there will be costs’ for any intervention,” reports the Associated Press. “He did not say what those costs might be.”
“Obama called on Russia to respect the independence and territory of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval,” AP noted.
“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” Obama said in a statement delivered from the White House. Such action by Russia would not serve the interests of the Ukrainian people, Russia or Europe, Obama said, and would represent a “profound interference” in matters he said must be decided by the Ukrainian people.
“Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world,” Obama said. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”
LATEST COVERAGE & ANALYSIS:
- Obama warns Russia (AP)
- Political tension grows in Ukraine’s Crimea region — Ukraine warns Russia not to invade (CNN)
- Is Russia preparing to move on Ukraine? Sends fighter jets, troops near border. U.S. warns Russia military force would be “grave mistake.” Here are the latest developments.
- Putin puts 150,000 Russian troops on alert as Georgia moves to join NATO.
- Ukraine names Baptist pastor as acting president. Ukrainian evangelicals issue call for national prayer & reconciliation in wake of violence.