Russia has denied it has any plans to launch an assault on Ukranian military bases in Crimea.
Earlier, news agency Interfax reported that the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet had issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian forces across Crimea to surrender by 4am CET or face a military assault.
Interfax quoted a source at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.The Ukrainian Defence Ministry has not confirmed whether or not it received an ultimatum.
Russian troops and armoured vehicles have been surrounding two military bases in Crimea at Perevalnoye, 40 kilometres from the capital Simferopol, since Sunday.
Putin declared at the weekend he had the right to invade Ukraine to protect Russian interests and citizens.
Ukraine’s new Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk called Russia’s sending in of troops a “declaration of war.”
Ukrainian troops inside have so far refused to surrender their weapons, but say they agreed to defuse the tense situation and remove the ammunition from their guns.