Thursday, 23 March 2017
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Reports of the fast moving siutaion on Friday 28th February:

Rumours of Russian troops being flown into Crimea airports, which seem to be no longer under the control of the Ukraine national government, despite Crimea's airspace remaining closed.

Any Russian military movements in Crimea are "within the framework" of Moscow's agreement with Kiev on the deployment of military units in Ukraine, Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin is quoted as saying by Reuters.

President Obama says the US is in touch with the Russian Federation. He says that the US stands for the the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in addition to its democratic future, and that "there will be costs" of external interventiuon. Prime Minister Cameron has spoken to President Putin. 

Armed men without insignia had earlier entered the Crimea parliament building.

Events reported during the day :

A BBC reporter reported seeing 10 lorries full of men and bearing Russian military plates moving on the road from Sevastopol toward Simferopol. The report came amid dispatches from other media outlets, including Liga.net, saying that a group of Russian Mi-24 helicopters were moving toward Belbek airport, 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Sevastopol. The BBC cited one unconfirmed media report that eight Russian military helicopters had arrived in Sevastopol from Russia itself

Alexander Turchinov, Ukraine's acting president and the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, dismissed Vice Adm. Yuriy Ilyin from his post as head of the Ukrainian general staff and commander in chief of the country's armed forces, Interfax-Ukraine reported. Ilyin was appointed by ousted President Viktor Yanukovich on Feb. 19.

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich landed at a military airport in southern Russia escorted by fighter jets, RIA Novosti reports. Yanukovich held a news conference at 1300 GMT in the southwestern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.  Mr Yanukovych says he is not asking Russia for military help: "I believe that any military actions are unacceptable. I believe Ukraine should remain united and undivided .....I am categorically opposed to an invasion of Ukraine and the violation of its integrity." Russian Interior Ministry is inviting Ukranian police to take Russian citizenship and to join up in Russia.

This all comes after an eye witness report broadcast on and tweeted by the BBC (with still pictures) of men in Russian uniforms (Russian troops or Crimean militia is unclear - they weren't talking) who seem to be in control of Sevastapol airport. Definitely not Ukranian troops says reporter there. The Russian Black Sea Fleet based in the Crimea had previously denied that its troops were undertaking any action. However, the Ukraine's Interior Minister says its an armed invasion.

Swiss authorities launch a criminal investigation into alleged money-laundering by former President Viktor Yanukovych, and his son Aleksander, says the BBC. Ukraine's prosecutor-general has called for his extradition. Bank withdrawls for ordinary Ukrainians are being restricted to just over 1000 euros.

The Crimea had been transferred from Russia to the Ukraine in 1954 by then leader Krushev.

The Ukraine Parliament is calling for United Nations observation.

Additional material from Stratfor

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