Ukraine prepares for contingencies after Russia raises rhetoric on military intervention
KIEV – Ukraine’s army is calling up military reservists to mobilize its troops for combat, after Russia’s Parliament authorized the use of its army in the Crimean peninsula, Ukrainian Defense Ministry confirmed on Sunday.
"The Ministry of Defense is hereby mobilizing all reserve units of the armed forces. As of March 1, reserve units are on emergency active duty," a statement from the Ministry said.
It added that the move was part of the presidential decree passed by the Ukrainian Parliament - Verkhovna Rada.
The political situation in Crimea worsened after Saturday`s decision by Russia to approve the use of military force. It follows the capture of main airports and seaways in the peninsula by armed men earlier in the week.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called on Russia to end military movements in Ukraine, accusing the country of violating the United Nations Convention.
Ukraine repeated its plea to the Russian government to recall its troops based in Crimea.
Ukraine`s Embassy to Turkey issued a statement on Sunday saying that Russia`s decision to authorize military deployment was an "authority to invade our beloved homeland".
The statement warned that such a prospect would set a "dangerous precedent".
Turkey`s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday that Russia`s strategic interests in Ukraine and Crimea should be recognized but it was unacceptable that the internal balances of a sovereign state would be rearranged based on another state`s interests.
- "Profound" impact on relations
Earlier on Saturday, U.S. State Secretary John Kerry condemned "the Russian Federation`s invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory," warning against consequences.
Kerry spoke with Ukraine`s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and assured 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 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.
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