Ukraine on alert for full combat duty in Crimea

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Ukraine on alert for full combat duty in Crimea

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Ukraine’s armed forces have been put on full combat alert after two Russian anti-submarine warships appeared off Crimea’s coast, violating an agreement on Moscow’s lease of a naval base.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said he had urged Russia to return its troops to base in the Crimea region.

“We, as Ukraine, state that we are ready to defend our sovereignty and we are convinced that Russia will not resort to military intervention on the territory of Ukraine. Any such intervention would be the beginning of war and the end of any relations between Ukraine and Russia,” said Yatsenyuk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin won his parliament’s approval on Saturday to invade Ukraine.

The upper house swiftly delivered a unanimous “yes” vote, shown live on television.

The Kremlin described Saturday’s authorisation as a threat for future action rather than confirmation that its soldiers are already involved.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama spoke by phone on Saturday with French President Francois Hollande and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and they expressed grave concern about Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, the White House said.

Canada is recalling its ambassador to Russia for consultations about the crisis in Ukraine and is freezing preparations to take part in the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Sochi.

The United States will also suspend participation in preparatory meetings for the summit.