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Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Invasion, Considers State Of Emergency After Masked Gunmen Occupy Two Crimean Airports | Zero Hedge
The bizarre events in the Crimea continued overnight, after unidentified masked men but dressed like those who took over the parliament in Simferopol yesterday, took over two airports by blockading one near the Russian naval base in Sevastopol and another in the capital of Simferopol. This prompted the Ukraine’s interior minister Arsen Avakov, to accuse Moscow’s military of blockading the airports, and in a Facebook post, he called the seizure of the Belbek international airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol a “military invasion and occupation.” He added: “It is a breach of all international agreements and norms.” As NBC reports, the Interfax news agency quoted Russian military sources as saying the incident at Belbek airport was intended to stop “fighters” flying in. However, Interfax later quoted a Russian official as saying that no units had approached the airport or blockaded it. In a nutshell, Russia continues to push with escalation ever further, and is testing just how far it can and will go without Ukraine responding.
— Alexander Marquardt (@MarquardtA) February 28, 2014
Kyivpost has a more detailed account:
Two Crimean airports were taken over by Russian military troops, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Facebook this morning. He said the situation in the autonomous republic has now escalated to “a military intervention” and called on the National Security Council to take urgent steps towards its regulation.
“My assessment of what’s going on is that it’s a military intervention and occupation in violation of all international agreements and norms,” he said in his statement. “This is a direct provocation of bloodshed on the territory of a sovereign state.”
Avakov said that Sevastopol’s military airport Bilbek at night was blocked off by the military units of the Russian navy, which is based in Sevastopol. He said the airport is surrounded by camouflaged military troops with no identification and carrying guns. He said they do not hide their Russian affiliation.
Inside the airport there is a group of Ukrainian soldiers and border guards, and Ukrainian police troops have surrounded the outer perimeter of the airport. “There have been no armed clashes so far,” he said.
The navy base is Sevastopol is key for the Russian army. Under agreements signed between two countries in 2010, the Russian military can continue to use Sevastopol until 2042, with an option of extending the lease to 2047.
Some 70 kilometers away from the coast, in Crimean capital Simferopol, another airport was taken over by a group of about 100 plain-clothed men, who went inside the airport and onto the runway.
“The interior troops and police pushed these people first into the airport building, and then out of the territory. No weapons were used,” Avakov said.
He said that after the armed men left, a new group of camouflaged men arrived around 1:30 in the morning. They carried automatic weapons and had no markings. Avakov said they entered the building and stayed int he restaurant.
“They are not hiding their affiliation with the army of the Russian Federation,” Avakov said. “Told by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry workers that they are military men and have no right to be there, they answer curtly that they have no instructions to negotiate with you.”
Avakov said that so far there have been no clashes, but tension is growing as Ukrainian police troops continue to arrive. “The law enforcement organs cannot oppose the army,” Avakov concluded.
In the meantine, Ukraine is starting to realize that it may have bitten more than it can chew, and as Interfax reported:
- UKRAINE WEIGHS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN CRIMEA: INTERFAX
- RUSSIA BLACK SEA FLEET, HELICOPTERS BREAK UKRAINE ACCORDS: IFX
And the immediate re-escalation:
- RUSSIAN BLACK SEA FLEET SETS UP BALACLAVA BLOCKADE: INTERFAX
Coastguard and frigate at entrance to Balaclava bay pic.twitter.com/Yvb69jPtHM
— Christian Fraser (@ForeignCorresp) February 28, 2014
Yet none of this compares to today’s main event when a t 5pm local time, in the Rostov-on-Don Technical University, deposed Ukraine president Yanukovich who is currently in Russia, is expected to hold a press conference. Missing since the beginning of the week, the ousted ukrainian president had fled the country to Russia in the latest days, either by car through the Donetsk region, either escorted by military planes, according to different reports.
We doubt anything he says will difuse the situation.
A 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi near New Orleans remained closed Monday after two vessels collided and caused an oil spill on Saturday in foggy conditions about 30 miles west of New Orleans. As NBC news reports, the Lindsay Ann Erickson crashed with the Hannah C. Settoon, which was pushing two barges carrying barrels of light crude oil that spilled into the river. Clean-up efforts are underway.
In this aerial photo, river traffic is halted along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Vacherie, La., due to a barge leaking oil in St. James Parish, La., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. The collision happened Saturday afternoon near Vacherie.
The U.S. Coast Guard said the source of an oil spill was secured but 65 miles of the Mississippi River including the Port of New Orleans remained closed Sunday.
The Coast Guard said in a news release the oil spill occurred Saturday when a barge collided with another vessel near Vacherie, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
“Lightering operations on the damaged barge concluded early Sunday morning and the source of the spill was secured,” the release said. “Oil spill response vessels and recovery equipment are deployed in the river.”
The Coast Guard said the Captain of the Port closed the river from mile marker 90 to mile maker 155 “to avoid possible contamination of passing vessels and to reduce the amount of oil spreading further down the river.”
A unified command including the Coast Guard, the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, the environmental cleanup company ES&H and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality was cooperating on the response to the spill, the Coast Guard said.
“Don’t Flush Your Toilets” Mayor Says As Ohio Water Supply Freezes; Niagara Falls Frozen | Zero Hedge
The nation may be slowly thawing from its deep freeze “polar vortex”, but that is no comfort for tens of thousands of Ohians, whose water supply has literally frozen in the past day after the valves at the Avon Lake Municipal Utility plant were planted in ice, dramatically lowering the supply of water. NBC reports that “tens of thousands of customers in several counties in Ohio are facing a dramatic water shortage after the intake valves at a key plant that draws water from Lake Erie apparently froze amid the wild winter weather.” As a result, the mayor of Avon had a modest proposal as a response to the caticestrophy: don’t flush your toilets. At least there is toilet paper, which is more than Venezuela, and its 480% returning in 2013 stock market can say.
Officials at Avon Lake Municipal Utilities west of Cleveland said Wednesday that the valves at the plant are caked in ice. Although they are still able to draw water, the rate is below typical demands — which means several surrounding cities could be hit by a veritable drought.
In a message on the city of Avon’s official website, officials called on residents to hold off on doing anything that uses a lot of water.
Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen sent out an emergency messages to locals asking them to hold off on laundry, baths and showers, according to Cleveland.com.
“We even ask people to refrain from flushing toilets as often as they used to until this can be resolved,” Jensen said.
The plant website said it provides water to over 200,000 people living in a 680-square-mile area made up of seven counties — including Lorain, Cuyahoga, Medina, Erie, Huron, Ashland and Wayne.
And in other polar vortex news, the Niagara Falls has frozen.
The polar vortex which affected large swathes of the US is expected to calm off this weekend (Picture: REUTERS/Aaron Harris)
The Rainbow Bridge connects the US side of Niagara Falls to the Canadian side (Picture: REUTERS/Aaron Harris)
Over 20million people visit Niagara each year (Picture: REUTERS/Aaron Harris)
Ice chunks flow over the Niagara into its gorge (Picture: REUTERS/Aaron Harris)
Visitors brave the cold to take a look at the beautiful sight (Picture: REUTERS/Aaron Harris)
- Did Eric Holder Lie Under Oath? (nationalreview.com)
- House Judiciary investigating whether Holder lied under oath (redalertpolitics.com)
- VIDEO: Holder faces House Judiciary Committee (jtn-network.com)
- Eric Holder: Don’t Ask, He Doesn’t Know (freebeacon.com)
- Breaking: House Judiciary Committee Will Investigate Eric Holder on Perjury Charges (thegatewaypundit.com)