Ukraine on the brink of disaster - PM

2014-03-02 14:53
Arseniy Yatsenyuk (AP)

Arseniy Yatsenyuk (AP)

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Kiev - Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned on Sunday his crisis-hit country was on the "brink of disaster", accusing Russia of declaring war in a bleak appeal to the international community.

"This is the red alert, this is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war to my country," he told reporters in English, a day after Russia's parliament approved the deployment of troops to Ukraine.

"If President Putin wants to be the president who started a war between two neighbouring and friendly countries, between Ukraine and Russia, he has reached his target within a few inches. We are on the brink of the disaster."

US leader Barack Obama has branded Russia's parliament vote a "violation of Ukrainian sovereignty" and told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call that Moscow's reported deployment of troops outside bases that it leases from Ukraine in the Crimea peninsula had broken international law.

Yatsenyuk on Sunday appealed to the international community.

"We believe that our Western partners and the entire global community will support the territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine and will do everything they can in order to stop the military conflict provoked by the Russian Federation," he said.

Military reservists called up

Meanwhile, Ukraine said on Sunday it would call up all military reservists after Putin's threat to invade.

Witnesses said a group of Russian soldiers had also blocked about 400 Ukrainian marines at their base in the eastern Crimean port city of Feodosiya and were calling on them to surrender and give up their arms.

Putin said in statement he was responsible for the safety of ethnic Russians in Crimea - home to Kremlin navies for nearly 250 years - and southeastern swathes of Ukraine with ancient ties to Moscow that look on Kiev's new pro-EU leaders with disdain.

The Western-backed interim team that took power in Kiev a week ago responded to Moscow's move toward its first invasion of a neighbour since a brief 2008 confrontation with Georgia by putting the military on full combat alert on Saturday.

Ukranian National Security Council chief Andriy Parubiy told the nation in a televised address he had ordered the defence ministry to "call on all those that armed forces need at the moment across Ukraine... (to) ensure the security and territorial integrity of Ukraine."

Ukraine's defence chief said earlier Russia had already sent 30 armoured personnel carriers and 6 000 additional troops into Crimea to help pro-Kremlin militia gain broader independence from the new pro-EU leaders in Kiev.

Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya also appealed to Nato "with a request to consider all options to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine".

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation called emergency talks with its 28 ambassadors for Sunday afternoon.


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Read more on:    nato  |  arseniy yatsenyuk  |  russia  |  ukraine  |  ukraine protests
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