US warns Russia over military manoeuvres in Crimea

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US warns Russia over military manoeuvres in Crimea

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US President Barack Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow’s deployment of Russian forces into Crimea is a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

In what appeared to be a tough 90-minute phone call, Obama warned that Russia could face further political and economic isolation.

A Kremlin spokesman said Putin had not yet decided to use force, and still hoped to avoid further escalation.

But at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, the Russian Federation’s representative, Vitaly Churkin, said the Russian parliament had approved the use of force on Ukraine’s territory, but not against Ukraine.

“Until now the decision about using Russian military forces in Ukraine hasn’t been made yet by the president of the Russian Federation,” said Churkin

The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, called for the swift deployment of international monitors and the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to Ukraine.

“Actions speak louder than words. The Russia Duma acted to authorise the use of military force in Ukraine. This is as dangerous as it is destabilising. It is time for the Russian intervention in Ukraine to end,” said Power.

The meeting came as Ukraine asked the US and other members of the Security Council to help safeguard its territorial integrity after Russia announced plans to send armed forces into Ukraine’s Black Sea Crimean peninsula.