February 28, 2014 "Information
Clearing House - "RTE"
aircraft carrying nearly 2,000 suspected troops have
landed at a military air base near the regional
capital of the Crimean peninsula, a top Ukrainian
official said accusing Moscow of an "armed
"Thirteen Russian aircraft landed at the airport of
Gvardeyskoye (near Simferopol) with 150 people in
each one," Sergiy Kunitsyn, the Ukrainian
president's special representative in Crimea, told
the local ATR television channel.
He said the air space had been closed.
It was not immediately clear if Russia had the right
to use the base or send additional troops there
under its agreements with Ukraine.
Kiev's main airport has said flights to the Crimean
capital of Simferopol have been cancelled as
tensions escalate on the peninsula.
A spokeswoman who did not give her name said flights
for this evening and tomorrow morning had been
cancelled because "the situation in Simferopol does
not allow them to accept flights".
The Simferopol airport website said a flight to and
from Istanbul had been also cancelled this evening.
It was unclear whether the Crimean air space had
been closed altogether.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council will hold a
closed-door emergency session on the escalating
crisis in Ukraine at the request of the new Kiev
government, which warned that the situation in
Crimea threatened Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Armed men took control of two airports in Ukraine's
autonomous Crimea region earlier today in what the
country's leadership described as an invasion and
occupation by Russian forces.
Russia denied involvement in the airport seizures.
Ukraine's UN Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev wrote to
Lithuanian Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite requesting
Ms Murmokaite is president of the Security Council
for the month of February. Her mission confirmed on
Twitter that the meeting would take place at 3pm in
New York (8pm Irish time).
Article 34 of the UN charter talks about the power
of the 15-nation council to investigate disputes or
"international friction" to determine whether
international peace and security is in jeopardy.
It was not clear what the council could do at the
meeting, which will take place behind closed doors.
Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member of the
Security Council and, therefore, able to block any
proposed action by its members.
Diplomats said Russia, which has criticised
Ukraine's new government and voiced support for
ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, had
attempted to delay the meeting.
A spokesman for Russia's UN mission declined to
The Ukrainian letter to Lithuania, which was
obtained by Reuters, came hours after Ukraine's
parliament said it would appeal to the council to
call a session to consider the problems in Ukraine
in the light of a 1993 understanding in which the
big powers agreed to guarantee Ukrainian territorial
In its letter, Ukraine, which is not a member of the
council, requested the right to participate in the
Yanukovych denies ordering protesters to be shot
Earlier former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych
said he had not ordered police to shoot at
protesters, adding that the responsibility for
bloodshed in Kiev lay with the demonstrators.
At a news conference in the Russian city of
Rostov-on-Don, Mr Yanukovych also said he was
surprised that Russian President Vladimir Putin had
said nothing in public about the past week's events
He said he had not seen Mr Putin but had spoken to
him by telephone during that time.
Mr Yanukovych said he intends to continue to
struggle for the future of Ukraine, saying power was
seized by "pro-fascist" forces.
He said the crisis is due to "irresponsible western"
policy of "indulging" the protesters on Kiev's
Asked about his rival, former prime minister Yulia
Tymoshenko, who was released from jail last
Saturday, Mr Yanukovych said he had never meant her
Elsewhere more than ten Russian military helicopters
flew into Ukrainian airspace over the Crimea region,
the Ukrainian border guard service said.
It also said in a statement that Russian servicemen
were blocking off a unit of Ukrainian border guards
in the port city of Sevastopol, where part of the
Russian Black Sea fleet is based.
Russia's Black Sea fleet had earlier denied any role
in the seizure of a military airport near
Ukraine's interior minister said Russian forces have
taken control of two airports in the Crimea region.
Arsen Avakov condemned the events as an armed
invasion and occupation.
He said there had been no bloodshed or clashes when
armed men, who he described as Russian naval forces,
took over a military airport near the port of
Mr Avakov said armed men representing Russia had
also taken over Simferopol international airport
"I consider what has happened to be an armed
invasion and occupation in violation of all
international agreements and norms," Mr Avakov said
on his Facebook page.
He described it as an armed provocation and called
The armed men did not enter the passenger terminal
and appear to be allowing the airport to function
Reuters reported that the men, dressed in full
battle gear and carrying assault rifles and machine
guns, were moving freely in and out of the control
It quoted one man as saying: "We are here to ensure
general order. We don't want radicals coming on
planes from Kiev.
"It was our initiative in order to stop the fire
from spreading into Crimea. That's why we don't want
radicalism to come here. We don't want fascism in
Crimea. We want peace here."
Armed men yesterday stormed the regional parliament
building and raised a Russian flag.
The developments come as the European Commission
called for a political solution to tension in Crimea
and urged all sides to show restraint.
"The situation in Crimea will require a political
solution and this can only be achieved via dialogue
amongst the different parties involved," a
commission spokesman said.
"We want all relevant actors, all parties to be as
moderate and restrained as possible ... and to
respect the integrity and unity of Ukraine."
Meanwhile, Mr Putin has ordered his government to
continue talks with Ukraine on economic and trade
relations and to consult foreign partners, including
the IMF and the G8, on financial aid.
Mr Putin has also ordered his government to consider
a request from Crimea for humanitarian aid.
The US has told Russia to demonstrate in the next
few days that it is sincere about a promise not to
intervene in Ukraine, saying using force would be a
"We believe that everybody now needs to take a step
back and avoid any kind of provocations," said US
Secretary of State John Kerry.
Acting President Says Russia Has Invaded Ukraine, As
2000 Russian Troops, Military Jets Arrive
By Tyler Durden
Here we go:
ACTING PRESIDENT TURCHYNOV STARTS BRIEFING
LEADER SAYS RUSSIA STARTS AGGRESSION AGAINST
SAYS RUSSIA INVADED UKRAINE UNDER GUISE OF
LEADER SAYS RUSSIA TRYING TO PROVOKE CONFLICT
LEADER SAYS RUSSIA SEEKING TO ANNEX CRIMEA
TURCHYNOV SAYS WILL DEFEND ITS INDEPENDENCE
ACTING PRESIDENT ACCUSES RUSSIA OF WORKING ON A
SCENARIO LIKE BEFORE WAR WITH GEORGIA
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.
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
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