Ukraine's acting President says armed forces are on alert in case of Russia aggression
KIEV - Ukraine's armed forces are on alert and ready to stop any aggression from Russia, with the help of other counties, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said.
In an interview with television channel Rada, Turchynov said the government and army will do everything needed to protect the country but that they will try to solve the dispute through diplomacy.
"Ukraine must enter the family of European nations and become a strong and decent European state where people want to live and where our children are proud that they live here," Turchinov said.
Crimea’s parliament voted recently in favor of joining Russia, and called for a referendum on the region’s future with Ukraine on March 16. Its decision came as Russian armed forces maintain their presence on the peninsula. Nearly 60 percent of Crimea's population are ethnic Russians or Russian-speakers, who are represented by an overwhelming majority in the parliament.
The West has strongly criticized what they see as Russian aggression in Crimea, which took place after the ousting of the pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the vote as lacking legality under both Ukrainian and international law. The G7, the group of the seven wealthiest and most developed nations, have said they will not recognize the results from the planned referendum in Crimea.
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