Russian action in Crimea a 'land grab': Turchynov

Interim president says people who died in protests to remove Yanukovych government laid down their lives to live in a 'European' Ukraine.

Interim president says people who died in protests to remove Yanukovych government laid down their lives to live in a 'European' Ukraine.

KIEV, Ukraine - Russia's annexation of Crimea is not only an attack on Ukraine's sovereignty but also a clear 'land-grab', Ukraine's interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said on Thursday.

"Despite this, we will do everything to defend our freedom," he said, speaking at a joint press conference in Kiev with U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.

He said that people who died in protests that led to the removal of former president Viktor Yanukovych had laid down their lives to live in a democratic and corruption-free 'European' Ukraine.

Sherman reaffirmed the U.S.' support to Ukraine over the ongoing tension in Crimea, reiterating her country's readiness to back a U.N. Security Council move to find a resolution to the crisis.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's Friday visit to Kiev will be important, she said.

In Crimea, the majority ethnic-Russian population declared independence from Ukraine and opted to join the Russian Federation following a controversial referendum on Sunday.

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