US' Kerry slams Russia's 'invasion and occupation' of Ukraine

Kerry talked with Ukraine`s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov assuring him that the US supports Ukraine. He said that the U.S recognizes and respects Russia`s ties to its historical ally Ukraine and its concerns for the treatment of ethnic Russians

Kerry talked with Ukraine`s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov assuring him that the US supports Ukraine. He said that the U.S recognizes and respects Russia`s ties to its historical ally Ukraine and its concerns for the treatment of ethnic Russians

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK – U.S. State Secretary John Kerry condemned "the Russian Federation`s invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory," warning against consequences, as the international community remains uneasy about potential conflict.

Kerry talked with Ukraine`s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov assuring him that the US supports Ukraine. He said that the U.S recognizes and respects Russia`s ties to its historical ally Ukraine and its concerns for the treatment of ethnic Russians -- which form a majority in the Crimean peninsula.

"These concerns can and must be addressed in a way that does not violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, by directly engaging the Government of Ukraine," he said in a press statement.

Russia refused on Saturday to hold direct talks with the Ukrainian government.

"Unless immediate and concrete steps are taken by Russia to de-escalate tensions, the effect on U.S.-Russian relations and on Russia’s international standing will be profound," Kerry added.

Ukraine`s Ambassador to the United Nations, Yury Sergeyev asked the UN Security Council during its emergency meeting on Saturday to take all available measures to "stop Russian aggression," urging for the deployment of a UN observer mission in Ukraine.

The emergency meeting saw UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon call Russian President Vladimir Putin to request that his government directly engage Ukraine`s leadership.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama spoke on Saturday with France`s President Francois Hollande and Canada`s Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the recent developments in Ukraine. In a statement, the leaders said they agree on respecting Ukraine`s territorial integrity and expressed deep concern on Russia`s military movements.

The situation in Ukraine`s autonomous Crimea escalated on Saturday after Russia’s President Putin asked the Russian Parliament for authorization to intervene in the peninsula, in order to ensure political stability and protection of its Russian ethnic majority. The Parliament issued the authorization in a matter of hours.

Russia’s Parliamentary approval follows the capture of main airports and seaways in Crimea by armed men; they are believed to be members of the Russian navy fleet based in the peninsula.

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