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Ukraine Says It Has Repelled A Russian Army Attempt To Enter Region Adjacent To Crimea | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Says It Has Repelled A Russian Army Attempt To Enter Region Adjacent To Crimea | Zero Hedge.

With a day left until the critical, if widely expected, results from the Crimean referendum are revealed, it is worth recalling the main footnote in last night’s State Department travel alert for Russia: “all U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the border region, specifically the regions bordering Ukraine in Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov Oblasts and Krasnodar Krai, should be aware of the potential for escalation of tensions, military clashes (either accidental or intentional).” See, for the purpose of a military provocation, “accidental” will do. It is therefore not surprising to see that moments ago all major news wires blasted the following headline, quoting the Ukraine ministry of defense:

  • UKRAINIAN MILITARY REPELS ATTEMPT BY RUSSIAN FORCES TO ENTER REGION ADJACENT TO CRIMEA-UKRAINE’S DEFENCE MINISTRY

The incursion allegedly took place in the Ukraine region of Kherson, neighboring the Crimea.

Here is the full google translated statement from the Ministry website:

Another provocation on the part of members of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has failed.

 

Today, 15 March 2014, forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine halted the penetration of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Kherson Oblast from the “Arabatka.” Response was made immediately.

So the official line is that the Ukraine repelled a Russian “military force” in a region inside east Ukraine and out of Crimea the day after Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov said Russia has no plans to Invade Ukraine? Call us cynical, but something tells us if Russians wanted to “penetrate” east Ukraine, the would have done so without “being repelled.”

Either way, here is Reuters’ take:

Ukraine’s military scrambled aircraft and paratroops on Saturday to repel an attempt by Russian forces to enter a long spit of land belonging to a region adjacent to Crimea, Ukraine’s defence ministry said.

 

“Units of Ukraine’s armed forces today…repelled an attempt by servicemen of the armed forces of the Russian Federation to enter the territory of Kherson region on Arbatskaya Strelka,” a ministry statement said. “This was repelled immediately.”

 

It said the Ukrainian military used aircraft, ground forces and its aeromobile battalion in the operation. The territory in question is a long spit of land running parallel to the east of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, now controlled by Russian forces.

But just so Russia isn’t accused of being inert, moments ago it too re-escalate the war of words and provocations, either accidental or intentional, and stated that:

  • RUSSIA’S FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS REQUESTS FOR DEFENCE OF PEACEFUL CITIZENS IN UKRAINE WILL BE CONSIDERED

Specifically, the Russian Foreign Ministry says in website statement that it will examine Ukrainians’ requests. Armed radicals are heading to eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Lugansk. Radicals provoked 2 deaths at pro-Russian rally in Kharkiv. The full statement is below:

On March 14 in Kharkov Ukraininan elements including the “Right Sector” arranged provocation against peaceful demonstrators who came to express their attitude to the so-called new government. As a result, the militants opened fire, killing two people, some were injured.

 

Of disturbing information that from Kharkov Donetsk and Lugansk left column with armed mercenaries “right sector” , whose leaders have announced the opening of the “Eastern Front” , and on one of the garment factories in Russia urgently sew uniforms.

 

At the risk of making the Verkhovna Rada of legitimizing the “right sector ” and other radicals by converting them into system power structures like the National Guard

paid attention Secretary of State John Kerry Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their meeting in London on 14 March . of While Lavrov urged John Kerry to use Washington’s influence on Kiev to curb rampant ultra- nationalists.

 

Russia To receive many calls asking to protect civilians. These applications will be considered.

Meanwhile in Crimea, the Russian flag is already flying above the Crimean Supreme Council:

And finally, just in case things weren’t exciting enough, the US appears to finally be flexing its muscles too.

  • U.S. WARSHIP TRUXTUN TO CARRY OUT FURTHER EXERCISES WITH ALLIES IN BLACK SEA-COMMANDER

From Reuters:

The USS Truxtun, a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, will carry out more exercises with allied ships in the Black Sea, its commander said on Saturday, in a further sign of the international response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Commander Andrew Biehn was briefing reporters aboard the 300-crew destroyer as it lay docked in a Bulgarian port.

 

The USS Truxtun last week took part in drills with Romanian and Bulgarian ships a few hundred miles from Russian forces that entered Ukraine’s Russian-majority of Crimea after mass protests toppled the country’s pro-Moscow president.

If all this has happened while it is still light in Ukraine and before the Crimean referendum, we can’t wait until darkness falls on Sunday night.

Ukraine Says It Has Repelled A Russian Army Attempt To Enter Region Adjacent To Crimea | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Says It Has Repelled A Russian Army Attempt To Enter Region Adjacent To Crimea | Zero Hedge.

With a day left until the critical, if widely expected, results from the Crimean referendum are revealed, it is worth recalling the main footnote in last night’s State Department travel alert for Russia: “all U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the border region, specifically the regions bordering Ukraine in Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov Oblasts and Krasnodar Krai, should be aware of the potential for escalation of tensions, military clashes (either accidental or intentional).” See, for the purpose of a military provocation, “accidental” will do. It is therefore not surprising to see that moments ago all major news wires blasted the following headline, quoting the Ukraine ministry of defense:

  • UKRAINIAN MILITARY REPELS ATTEMPT BY RUSSIAN FORCES TO ENTER REGION ADJACENT TO CRIMEA-UKRAINE’S DEFENCE MINISTRY

The incursion allegedly took place in the Ukraine region of Kherson, neighboring the Crimea.

Here is the full google translated statement from the Ministry website:

Another provocation on the part of members of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has failed.

 

Today, 15 March 2014, forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine halted the penetration of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Kherson Oblast from the “Arabatka.” Response was made immediately.

So the official line is that the Ukraine repelled a Russian “military force” in a region inside east Ukraine and out of Crimea the day after Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov said Russia has no plans to Invade Ukraine? Call us cynical, but something tells us if Russians wanted to “penetrate” east Ukraine, the would have done so without “being repelled.”

Either way, here is Reuters’ take:

Ukraine’s military scrambled aircraft and paratroops on Saturday to repel an attempt by Russian forces to enter a long spit of land belonging to a region adjacent to Crimea, Ukraine’s defence ministry said.

 

“Units of Ukraine’s armed forces today…repelled an attempt by servicemen of the armed forces of the Russian Federation to enter the territory of Kherson region on Arbatskaya Strelka,” a ministry statement said. “This was repelled immediately.”

 

It said the Ukrainian military used aircraft, ground forces and its aeromobile battalion in the operation. The territory in question is a long spit of land running parallel to the east of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, now controlled by Russian forces.

But just so Russia isn’t accused of being inert, moments ago it too re-escalate the war of words and provocations, either accidental or intentional, and stated that:

  • RUSSIA’S FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS REQUESTS FOR DEFENCE OF PEACEFUL CITIZENS IN UKRAINE WILL BE CONSIDERED

Specifically, the Russian Foreign Ministry says in website statement that it will examine Ukrainians’ requests. Armed radicals are heading to eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Lugansk. Radicals provoked 2 deaths at pro-Russian rally in Kharkiv. The full statement is below:

On March 14 in Kharkov Ukraininan elements including the “Right Sector” arranged provocation against peaceful demonstrators who came to express their attitude to the so-called new government. As a result, the militants opened fire, killing two people, some were injured.

 

Of disturbing information that from Kharkov Donetsk and Lugansk left column with armed mercenaries “right sector” , whose leaders have announced the opening of the “Eastern Front” , and on one of the garment factories in Russia urgently sew uniforms.

 

At the risk of making the Verkhovna Rada of legitimizing the “right sector ” and other radicals by converting them into system power structures like the National Guard

paid attention Secretary of State John Kerry Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their meeting in London on 14 March . of While Lavrov urged John Kerry to use Washington’s influence on Kiev to curb rampant ultra- nationalists.

 

Russia To receive many calls asking to protect civilians. These applications will be considered.

Meanwhile in Crimea, the Russian flag is already flying above the Crimean Supreme Council:

And finally, just in case things weren’t exciting enough, the US appears to finally be flexing its muscles too.

  • U.S. WARSHIP TRUXTUN TO CARRY OUT FURTHER EXERCISES WITH ALLIES IN BLACK SEA-COMMANDER

From Reuters:

The USS Truxtun, a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, will carry out more exercises with allied ships in the Black Sea, its commander said on Saturday, in a further sign of the international response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Commander Andrew Biehn was briefing reporters aboard the 300-crew destroyer as it lay docked in a Bulgarian port.

 

The USS Truxtun last week took part in drills with Romanian and Bulgarian ships a few hundred miles from Russian forces that entered Ukraine’s Russian-majority of Crimea after mass protests toppled the country’s pro-Moscow president.

If all this has happened while it is still light in Ukraine and before the Crimean referendum, we can’t wait until darkness falls on Sunday night.

After Annexing Crimea, Russian Troops Are Piling Up By The East Ukraine Border | Zero Hedge

After Annexing Crimea, Russian Troops Are Piling Up By The East Ukraine Border | Zero Hedge.

Despite the relentless protests of Kiev, and of course the G7 group of world’s most indebted nations, in the past two weeks Vladimir Putin once again succeeded in outplaying the west and annexed the Crimea peninsula without firing a single shot (granted there is still potential for material situational deterioration, one which would involve military participation by NATO whose outcome is not exactly clear). The market has “priced in” as much, with prevailing consensus now dictating that Russia will preserve its foothold in the Crimea however without additional attempts for annexation: certainly Poland is hoping and praying as much.

However, as the following photos taken on the Russian side of East Ukraine, next to Belgorod, the Russian airborne troops (“VDV“) are now piling up, only not in Crimea, which needs no further Russian military presence, but ostensibly to prepare for the next part of the annexation: that of Russian-speaking east Ukraine.

On the clip and pictures below, one can see Russian troops on the move near the border with Ukraine in the Belgorod Oblast, about 20 kilometers from the border with Ukraine near Kharkiv:

?????? ???????

?????? ???????

?????? ???????

The indicative location:

 

Meanwhile, on the birder with Crimea, Ukrainian troops are digging in and mining fields in anticipation of Russians rolling out of the Penninsula:

H/T @raymond_saint, Censor.netmkoinov

After Annexing Crimea, Russian Troops Are Piling Up By The East Ukraine Border | Zero Hedge

After Annexing Crimea, Russian Troops Are Piling Up By The East Ukraine Border | Zero Hedge.

Despite the relentless protests of Kiev, and of course the G7 group of world’s most indebted nations, in the past two weeks Vladimir Putin once again succeeded in outplaying the west and annexed the Crimea peninsula without firing a single shot (granted there is still potential for material situational deterioration, one which would involve military participation by NATO whose outcome is not exactly clear). The market has “priced in” as much, with prevailing consensus now dictating that Russia will preserve its foothold in the Crimea however without additional attempts for annexation: certainly Poland is hoping and praying as much.

However, as the following photos taken on the Russian side of East Ukraine, next to Belgorod, the Russian airborne troops (“VDV“) are now piling up, only not in Crimea, which needs no further Russian military presence, but ostensibly to prepare for the next part of the annexation: that of Russian-speaking east Ukraine.

On the clip and pictures below, one can see Russian troops on the move near the border with Ukraine in the Belgorod Oblast, about 20 kilometers from the border with Ukraine near Kharkiv:

?????? ???????

?????? ???????

?????? ???????

The indicative location:

 

Meanwhile, on the birder with Crimea, Ukrainian troops are digging in and mining fields in anticipation of Russians rolling out of the Penninsula:

H/T @raymond_saint, Censor.netmkoinov

Ukraine's Military Mobilizes, Prepares For Combat: Trucks, APCs, SAMs, Tanks Rolling Out | Zero Hedge

Ukraine’s Military Mobilizes, Prepares For Combat: Trucks, APCs, SAMs, Tanks Rolling Out | Zero Hedge.

Did somebody say de-escalation?

Earlier today, photos were distributed showing the latest military convoy reinforcements heading into the Crimea, accompanies by a Police car demonstrating Moscow license plate numbers, most likely providing further support to the pro-Russian forces in the peninsula.

 

Supposedly the trucks are carrying troops to reinforces the members of the new Crimean army, pictured below:

 

While at the same time along the makeshift border between Crimea and the mainland, the Pro-Russian forces are putting down minefields.

 

However, the Ukrainians, having already been mobilized for over a week, finally appear set to seize back the offensive:

The first clip below captured the 80th Airborne Regiment out of Lviv moving out, direction mainland, preparing to repel foreign attack.

 

The next video shows what are allegedly Buk SAM batteries deployed in the Donetsk region, a city in Eastern Ukraine which in the past week has swayed between Ukraine and Russian authority.

 

The clip below shows the 95th Airborne brigade also moving out of their barracks in Zhytomyr in western Ukraine, heading East, with an impressive deployment of trucks and APCs.

 

Finally, 20 T-64 tanks preparing to depart in Bila Tserkva, a city in central Ukraine:

 

So where again are all those pundits who were so eager to explain away the Ukraine confrontation as one that will promptly be forgotten, and is by now most certainly priced in?

(Source: @Ukroblogger, @SergeyPonomarev)

 

Ukraine’s Military Mobilizes, Prepares For Combat: Trucks, APCs, SAMs, Tanks Rolling Out | Zero Hedge

Ukraine’s Military Mobilizes, Prepares For Combat: Trucks, APCs, SAMs, Tanks Rolling Out | Zero Hedge.

Did somebody say de-escalation?

Earlier today, photos were distributed showing the latest military convoy reinforcements heading into the Crimea, accompanies by a Police car demonstrating Moscow license plate numbers, most likely providing further support to the pro-Russian forces in the peninsula.

 

Supposedly the trucks are carrying troops to reinforces the members of the new Crimean army, pictured below:

 

While at the same time along the makeshift border between Crimea and the mainland, the Pro-Russian forces are putting down minefields.

 

However, the Ukrainians, having already been mobilized for over a week, finally appear set to seize back the offensive:

The first clip below captured the 80th Airborne Regiment out of Lviv moving out, direction mainland, preparing to repel foreign attack.

 

The next video shows what are allegedly Buk SAM batteries deployed in the Donetsk region, a city in Eastern Ukraine which in the past week has swayed between Ukraine and Russian authority.

 

The clip below shows the 95th Airborne brigade also moving out of their barracks in Zhytomyr in western Ukraine, heading East, with an impressive deployment of trucks and APCs.

 

Finally, 20 T-64 tanks preparing to depart in Bila Tserkva, a city in central Ukraine:

 

So where again are all those pundits who were so eager to explain away the Ukraine confrontation as one that will promptly be forgotten, and is by now most certainly priced in?

(Source: @Ukroblogger, @SergeyPonomarev)

 

charles hugh smith-Ukraine: Follow the Energy

charles hugh smith-Ukraine: Follow the Energy.

Ukraine: Follow the Energy   (March 4, 2014)

Scrape away the media sensationalism and geopolitical posturing and it boils down to a simple dynamic: follow the energy.Though many seem to believe that internal politics and geopolitical posturing in Ukraine are definitive dynamics, I tend to think the one that really counts is energy: not only who has it and who needs it, but where the consumers can get it from.

Let’s cut to the chase and declare a partition along long-standing linguistic and loyalty lines a done deal. Let’s also dispense with any notions that either side can impose a military solution in the other’s territory.

Media reports on the weakness of Ukrainian military forces abound (for example,Ukraine Finds Its Forces Are Ill Equipped to Take Crimea Back From Russia), but Russia’s ability to project power and hold territory isn’t so hot, either.

A knowledgeable correspondent submitted these observations:

 

RE: Russian Army. Effective draft evasion is running 80%. Morale is low, training is very poor and poorly funded. The Russian army has also gone through 22 years of near continuous contraction.And this standing army has heavy commitments in the Caucasus and Far East Siberia. Moreover, at least half of these Russian ground troops are short term 12 month conscripts. I don’t think these kids will produce many usable and motivated troops. The low morale recently seen in the Ukrainian Berkut and other police will be multiplied by at least 10x.

Russian speaking Ukrainian bands are rumored to already be crossing the borders into Russia territory. They’re to be ready to sabotage bridges and infrastructure and generally retaliate. Fluent Russian speakers with many years experience of living in Russia. Who can say for sure if this has already happened or is just being threatened? We can say this is a very real danger. These people look just like “Russians.”

And we can also say this threat will seriously complicate Russian rear area security and logistics. And speaking of logistics, the distances in south Ossetia and Abkhazia were very short and the populations were entirely friendly. Neither condition prevails in the Ukraine outside the Crimea.

Supplying moving armored units over hundreds of miles of occupied country is very difficult logistically. The logistics for air assault helicopter units are just as bad. These helo units look mobile but they’re a lot like a yoyo being twirled around your head on the string. They only go fast within a fixed radius anchored by logistics that are about as heavy to move as an armored division’s supply columns. That is years in the 101st Airborne Division talking. The fuel consumption rates are immense. Stuff starts breaking down fast.

Conclusion: a de facto partition is already baked in because neither side can force a re-unification. Various jockeying and posturing will undoubtedly continue for some time, but the basic end-game is already visible: de facto partition.

Let’s move on to correspondent A.C.’s observations about energy.

 

This map rounds out the European energy Rosetta Stone. When they hear that Italian fighter jets are over Tripoli, or that the French Foreign Legion has returned to the deep Sahara Desert, they can can better understand the reasons and real objectives of such operations.

source:

Many have noted that the Russia economy is critically dependent on oil and gas exports to the EU. It should be noted that the converse is less true every day about EU dependence on Russian oil and gas. The Wall Street Journaleven had a line about an EU proposal to push natural gas EAST to the Ukraine. It’s hard to understand that passage or where the natural gas could come from unless one understands the North Africa to southern Europe gas pipelines.

The factors bringing the conflict in Ukraine to a head are:

1. The natural gas discoveries in eastern Poland and western Ukraine played the largest role.

2. The reduced importance of the gas pipeline running through the Ukraine to Europe as compared to 2009. Since that time the Nordstream lines have been finished and Gazprom acquired commercial control of the Belarus pipeline. The South Stream lines are well along in development.

3. Fast developing liquid natural gas (LNG) seaport terminal infrastructure.

Events in Libya, Mali and Algeria are not hermetically isolated from this. They are part of a comprehensive energy policy problem being dealt with by the same leaderships. It increasingly looks like a series of peripheral Energy Wars that are being fought out for control of Europe.

LNG exports are going to become a weapon in the struggle for geopolitical influence and control.

This highlights another problem for Russia/Gazprom. Its present natural gas advantage in Europe now rests mainly on its pipeline infrastructure. This advantage is fading due to the current and proposed pipeline projects running through Turkey to Europe, plus LPG terminal & ship developments, plus the five trans-Mediterranean pipelines from Libya, Algeria and Morocco to southern Europe, plus local shale gas plays…

The Ukraine is not the only country becoming less systemically important to Europe for natural gas supply. So is Russia. Current events will only accelerate everyone’s efforts to diversify away from such an unstable and apparently dangerous supplier.

I think the long-term fallout from the Ukrainian Crisis will be similar to China’s attempt to exploit its temporary low price monopoly position in rare earth metals a few years ago. The result is rare earth metals are becoming less rare by the day as alternate mines outside China are opened and reopened.

Thank you, A.C. Scrape away the media sensationalism and geopolitical posturing and it boils down to a simple dynamic: follow the energy.

Ukraine Tells Russia Invasion Means War as Putin Makes Plans – Bloomberg

Ukraine Tells Russia Invasion Means War as Putin Makes Plans – Bloomberg.

By Daryna Krasnolutska and Volodymyr Verbyany  Mar 2, 2014 5:34 AM ET

Heavily-armed troops displaying no identifying insignia and local pro-Russian militants stand guard outside a local… Read More

Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesHeavily-armed soldiers without identifying insignia guard the Crimean parliament building shortly after taking up… Read More

Photographer: Yury Kirnichny/AFP via Getty ImagesA woman holds a sign during a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy in Kiev on March 1, 2014.

Photographer: Mikhail Metzel/RIA-NOVOSTI/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow on February 26, 2014.

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Ukraine told Russia that a military invasion would be an act of war following a vote by lawmakers in Moscow to give President Vladimir Putin the right to send troops after pro-Russian forces seized control of Crimea.

Ukraine, which put its military on full combat alert, is also mobilizing the reserves, Andriy Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said in a briefing today. He urged the U.S. and U.K. to defend the country’s territorial integrity. Putin told U.S. President Barack Obama that Russia may act if violence spreads to Russian-speaking regions, the Kremlin said in a statement.

In a 90-minute phone call, Obama “expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity” and told Putin his country is violating international law by sending troops into Ukraine, according to a White House statement.

The U.S. and Canada are suspending preparations for a meeting of the Group of Eight industrial nations in Russia in June. The U.S. called on Russia to withdraw its forces to bases in Crimea, refrain from interfering elsewhere in Ukraine and conduct “direct engagement” with the country’s newly formed government.

Facing Default

Ethnic strife erupted in Ukraine’s Crimea region, where the majority of the population is Russian, after an uprising led to last week’s overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych. The military movements risk destabilizing the country as its new government looks to the U.S. and Europe for a bailout to avoid default.

“The Ukrainian state will protect all citizens no matter in which region they live in and which language they speak or which church they attend,” acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said.

Tensions in the mostly Russian-speaking Crimea have worsened since gunmen took control of the regional legislature this week and installed a pro-Kremlin premier, Sergey Aksenov.

Ukraine asked the European Union, the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to consider “all means’ for the defense of its territorial integrity, the Interfax news service reported, citing Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchystya.

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency session to discuss the events in Ukraine. Following a request from Poland, NATO’s North Atlantic Council will meet today for consultations on a potential threat to its security.

‘Act of Aggression’

In a statement to the Security Council, Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev called on the international community ‘‘to do everything possible” to stop a Russian “act of aggression,” saying the number of Russian soldiers in Crimea is increasing “every hour.”

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said “cooler heads should prevail” and the West must stop spurring the conflict by encouraging protesters.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power called for observers and told the session that Russia approving the use of force is “dangerous and destabilizing.”

Canada is recalling its ambassador to Moscow, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said his country is concerned about the situation and urged all parties to exercise restraint.

‘Back Off’

“People right around the world will be thinking right now: hands off the Ukraine,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today, according to an e-mailed transcript of an interview on Channel 10’s “The Bolt Report.” “This is not the kind of action of a friend and neighbor and really, Russia should back off.”

Crimea was given to Ukraine by Russia in 1954 by then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Ethnic Russians comprise 59 percent of Crimea’s population of about 2 million people, with 24 percent Ukrainian and 12 percent Tatar, according to 2001 census data. Russians make up 17 percent of Ukraine’s entire population of 45 million people.

Heeding a request by Putin to protect ethnic Russians, lawmakers in Moscow yesterday voted unanimously to allow him to send troops to its neighbor after unidentified troops seized facilities in Ukraine’s southern Crimea region.

‘Naked Aggression’

Ukraine is diverting funds for the military, Yatsenyuk said. Putin had no reason to request the use of force against Ukraine as Russians aren’t under threat, Turchynov said.

Turchynov earlier accused Russia of “naked aggression.” Ukraine’s defense minister said yesterday that Russia has sent 6,000 more soldiers into Crimea in the past 24 hours, while Crimean Premier Sergey Aksenov, who asked Russia for help, said Russian troops were guarding key buildings there, Interfax news service reported.

“The situation is under control,” Aksenov, who had asked for aid from Russia and was voted as leader in a closed-door session after gunmen took control of the legislature this week, was quoted as saying by Interfax. “Cooperation has been established with the Black Sea Fleet on guarding crucial facilities.”

A U.S. official described events over the past days as an orchestrated series of steps intended to make Russian military intervention in Crimea appear legitimate. The official requested anonymity to discuss classified intelligence matters.

‘Tyranny and Violence’

Putin has not yet made a decision on when to send troops, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said by phone. Ukraine’s government said efforts to speak with Russia’s Foreign Ministry were ignored.

The vote by Russian lawmakers followed an appeal by the council of Russia’s State Duma to protect Russians in Crimea from “tyranny and violence,” RIA Novosti reported, citing SpeakerSergei Naryshkin.

Lawmakers also said Russia should no longer abide by a 1994 agreement under which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for a guarantee from the U.S., U.K. and Russia to protect its independence and territorial integrity.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said gunmen “sent by Kiev” tried to seize Crimea’s Interior Ministry. An unidentified group of masked men also took over the trade union building in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol.

Gunmen earlier surrounded Crimea’s main airport in the capital, while more than 10 trucks carrying Russian servicemen encircled the Kirov military airfield, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified person in the Ukrainian military.

Pro-Russian protesters yesterday stormed the chamber of the regional government in Kharkiv, a city in Ukraine’s northeast, and ejected government supporters in clashes where both sides threw stones and wielded sticks, the Unian news service reported yesterday.

Moscow’s Orbit

Russia has alarmed Western leaders with moves in Crimea to thwart any push by Ukraine’s democratic movement to draw the nation toward the European Union and out of Moscow’s orbit.

The turmoil comes as Ukraine’s new government tries to shore up an economy in need of aid. Ukraine needs $15 billion in the next 2 1/2 years from the International Monetary Fund, and securing a deal at the start of April would be the best scenario, Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak said in Kiev yesterday.

It wasn’t clear what tools the U.S. and its allies have to deter Russia from escalating the situation.

“There could be trade or financial sanctions on Russia,” said Daniel Serwer, senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. “The problem is no one wants to go back to a Cold War.”

Russian Goal

A full invasion of Ukraine could risk interrupting deliveries of Russian gas to other European nations and further destabilizing a country that’s already on the brink of default and elected a new government only this week. Gazprom yesterday reiterated that Ukraine owes $1.55 billion for supplies of Russian gas, RIA said, citing company officials.

Putin’s goal may instead be to ensure Russia’s military dominance of the region survives through its hold on the deep-water Black Sea port of Sevastopol, which it received in a leasing deal with Ukraine until 2042. The threat of military force may set the stage for a referendum slated for March 30 in Crimea over whether the region should have more independence from Kiev, said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center of Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

“What the Russian army is doing now is guaranteeing the impossibility for Kiev to use force in Crimea and to ensure that the referendum will be passed,” Pukhov said by phone yesterday. “Putin’s goal is to have Crimea with as wide rights of autonomy as possible and become de facto Russia’s unofficial protectorate. The plan is to keep the Black Sea fleet forever.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev atdkrasnolutsk@bloomberg.net; Volodymyr Verbyany in Simferopol, Ukraine atvverbyany1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net; John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net Alaa Shahine, Andrew J. Barden

More APCs And Helicopters As The Airspace Closes: The Latest Developments From The Ukraine | Zero Hedge

More APCs And Helicopters As The Airspace Closes: The Latest Developments From The Ukraine | Zero Hedge.

 

While the latest official development surrounding the Ukraine crisis is that in under two hours, or at 3pm, the UN Security council will meet to discuss the situation in Crimea, Censor.net, citing Christopher Miller, the editor of Kyiv Post, reported the following:

Russian vice-admiral declares war with Ukraine in Crimea, reports @censor_net. For real? Can he do that?http://t.co/eaU0LbGJgu

— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 28, 2014

Below is the google translated story from Censor:

In Crimea, Black Sea Fleet commander of Russian Federation Alexander Vitko announced the beginning of the war with Ukraine. Such information TSN confirmed MP from the “homeland”, the former chairman of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Cemil

 

According to him, on Thursday, February 27 in Sevastopol Vice Admiral Vitko gathered all the generals and said, “We start war with Ukraine. ”

 

About the Jemilev meeting only became known today, February 28.

 

In addition, according to the deputy, the morning without permission border of Ukraine, trying to bypass finders crossed four helicopters from Anapa. Moreover, he noted that Ukraine is now Russia does not oppose, and Ukrainians are on the verge of very dramatic events.

 

“The only way out here, I think that we have the strength to impose emergency rule, bring our troops and take control of all state institutions,” – said Cemil.

He asked about acting Ukrainian President empowered Commander of the Armed Forces, Alexander Turchinov.

 

“Now I’m with Turchynov said that what we have military units, the forces necessary to throw everything in the Crimea. Elsewhere us no threat yet, enter PE and throw under control. But again, there is concern that we provoke, that we may not have enough forces, “- stated the MP.

 

He believes Russia will not go to full-scale war, but “the country must defend their dignity, basic rights of its citizens.”

 

“I constantly call and say: if Ukraine can not do something, let us at least a weapon,” – said the ex- Head of Mejlis.

 

Moreover, he noted that the Crimean Tatars no sense to stand with machine guns and pistols against “armed to the teeth with the Russian army” which means “let the people to death.”

Is this merely a provocation from the Tatar source, or a glimpse into the endgame? We will find out soon. In the meantime, here are some of the other more recent developments from the Ukraine:

  • UKRAINE CITES RUSSIAN VIOLATIONS OF AIRSPACE, FLEET ACCORDS
  • UKRAINE URGES RUSSIA TO RETURN MILITARY UNITS TO BASES
  • UKRAINE ISSUES NOTE OF PROTEST TO RUSSIA OVER CRIMEA
  • UKRAINE SAYS DIDN’T ASK RUSSIA TO HELP MAINTAIN CIVIL ORDER

Ukrainian international airline says it has cancelled flights to #Crimea because “airspace is closed” -Reuters

— LBCI News English (@LBCI_News_EN) February 28, 2014

BREAKING: AP in #Crimea spots convoy of Russian armored personnel carriers en route to capital http://t.co/BZhOPl2RHe pic.twitter.com/mjPeVQfCb9

— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) February 28, 2014

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— ????? ?????? (@oivshina) February 28, 2014

And more choppers:

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