Travel Warnings: Crimea, Donetsk and Kharkov - situation tense
The situation in the Eastern Ukraine specifically in the Crimean territory is becoming more tense by the minute resulting in warnings for travelers and tourists to Crimea, Donetsk and Kharkov, due to “instability following former Ukrainians president Yanukovich’s ouster and the organization of the new government.
Oleksandr Turchynov, the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, acting president of Ukraine, is accusing Russia of military aggression.
He has said this at an emergency news briefing.
"The Russian Federation has begun an open aggression against our country. It has brought military troops in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea under the guise of military trainings," he noted.
Besides the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Council, they have captured and are trying to take under control civilian and communications facilities, and to block the deployment sites of the Ukrainian military units.
"According to our intelligence, Russia is constructing the scenario similar to the Abkhazian's when they had created the conflict and began annexing the territory," the Acting President of Ukraine stressed.
Turchynov emphasized the Ukrainian military were not responding to the provocations, but avoiding the military conflict.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Russia considers the developments in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea the consequence of the inter-political crisis and does not see any need to hold bilateral consultations with Ukraine.
Russians appear to have indirect control of this region and are now offering Ukrainians Russian passports to find an excuse to later "protect" them.
Here is a timeline taken from the Russian media.
Saturday, March 1
Russia won’t disregard Crimean authorities’ appeal for help to ensure peace and calm on Crimean territory, the Kremlin has said.
The Crimean premier, Sergey Aksenov, has declared that firearms have been used in the clashes in the region, Itar-Tass news agency reported.
He said he will be managing all national security forces in the region, and has asked Russia's President Vladimir Putin for help in ensuring peace in Crimea.
The Supreme Council of the Crimean Autonomous Republic has decided to create a special Berkut law enforcement unit, Unian news agency reported. Berkut was the name of the national crack security force that was disbanded after the rioting in Kiev over allegations that the rallies were cracked down on.
Ukraine’s interim president, Aleksandr Turchinov, has appointed a former TV presenter for Kiev-based Channel 5, Viktoria Syumar, as deputy secretary of the Council for National Security and Defense.
The US State Department has warned American citizens against trips to Crimea, Donetsk and Kharkov, due to “instability following Yanukovich’s ouster and the organization of the new government,” it said in a statement.
The Supreme Council of Crimea has established a local “Berkut” special forces unit to protect public order on the Peninsula who will obey the regional authorities' orders exclusively, Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev wrote via Facebook.
"Yesterday, late in the evening I met with Berkut fighters who agreed to establish a Crimean special unit,” he wrote, adding that the Supreme Council already signed the order.
About 30 people, who identified themselves as members of the Kiev Maidan defense squad, have attacked the office of the father of the former Minister of Energy and Coal of Ukraine Eduard Stavisky, which he allegedly rented to a law firm, Interfax-Ukraine reports. When the men entered the property in the center of Kiev, they began to smash windows and looted the valuables. In particular they were trying to steal a plasma TV, documents, and antique-looking souvenir objects. Four people have been detained in the act, while the rest managed to escape. Maidan protesters distanced themselves from the group, calling them ordinary looters, Interfax reports.
A total of 94 people have died in Ukraine from the start of the protests on November 30, 2013, the country’s Ministry of Health reports
"Since February 18, 83 died people have died. Since the beginning of mass rallies in Kiev on November 30, 2013, 88 people died,” the statement read. The Ministry also said that additional six deaths were reported in the regions, including two in the Crimea, two in Khmelnytsky region and two in the Cherkassy region.
According to the authorities, a further 900 victims were injured in clashes, 606 of them were hospitalized. At least 242 people are still receiving treatment.
Friday, February 28
US President Barack Obama made his own address from the White House, expressing his nation’s “concerns” about “reports” of “military movements” inside Ukraine.
"We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine," Obama said.
“The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," he warned. The US leader stated that it is up to Ukrainian people to determine their own future as the situation “remains very fluid.”
Russia is interested in the stability and prosperity of Ukraine more than anyone and is acting within existing agreements, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said after a private meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation in the country.