Here we go:
- UKRAINE ACTING PRESIDENT TURCHYNOV STARTS BRIEFING
- UKRAINE LEADER SAYS RUSSIA STARTS AGGRESSION AGAINST COUNTRY
- UKRAINE SAYS RUSSIA INVADED UKRAINE UNDER GUISE OF EXERCISE
- UKRAINE LEADER SAYS RUSSIA TRYING TO PROVOKE CONFLICT
- UKRAINE LEADER SAYS RUSSIA SEEKING TO ANNEX CRIMEA
- UKRAINE'S TURCHYNOV SAYS WILL DEFEND ITS INDEPENDENCE
- UKRAINE ACTING PRESIDENT ACCUSES RUSSIA OF WORKING ON A SCENARIO LIKE BEFORE WAR WITH GEORGIA
Russia has sent "several hundred" troops into Ukraine's Crimea region, US defense officials said Friday, after Kiev called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the peninsula.
"It looks like they’ve moved several hundred troops there (into Crimea)," a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
The comments marked the first confirmation from President Barack Obama's administration that Russia had launched an incursion into Crimea.
The Russians had not given the US government advance notice of the action or explained its intentions since the operation was launched, officials said.
But Pentagon officials stressed Washington was focused on diplomacy, and there was no serious consideration being given to any US military action.
"It is now in the realm of diplomacy," said a second defense official, who asked not to be named.
Officials also said they were not aware of any request from Ukraine for military assistance.
More from Interpretermag.com:
“Under the guise of military exercises, Russia has brought troops into the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. And not only have they seized the parliament of the Crimea, the Council of Ministers of the Crimea, they are trying to take civilian buildings under control, communications, and trying to block places where Ukrainian soldiers are based,” he said in an appeal to the nation.
“They are provoking us to military conflict. According to information from our intelligence, they are working out scenarios that are completely analogous to Abkhazia, when after provoking a conflict, they began annexation of territory,” the acting president emphasized.
— Ukrainian Updates (@Ukroblogger) February 28, 2014
At the same time, Ukraine Pravda is reporting that Russian military planes are now landing in the Crimea.
Russian airplanes are landing in Crimea from the direction of Russia, and a column of APCs is heading from the east toward Simferopol.
There are reports of at least 5 large IL-76 planes landing in the district of the military airfield in the town of Gvardeyskoye.
Various sources are reporting that a column of 10 Russian APCs is heading from Sevastopol toward Simfereopol.
Interfax Ukraine reports that all air traffic is halted at the Belbek Airport in Sevastopol due to the seizure of the landing strip by unknown persons.
“There are about 400 people now in the Belbek airport. They have occpuied the landing strip and any movement of planes is stopped,” said a source.
And another video of the Russian APCs: considering the number of journalists standing by, it is as if they are on parade:
Finally. AFP reports:
- 2,000 RUSSIAN SOLDIERS LAND IN CRIMEA IN ARMED INVASION, KIEV OFFICIAL SAYS -- AFP
And more airplanes:
Special representative to Crimea: thirteen Russian aircraft land at base near Sevastopol with 150 people on each
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) February 28, 2014
Some are using makeshift barricades and checkpoints to defend themselves: via Kyiv Post:
Is it starting?