By Stefan J. Bos Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
KYIV, UKRAINE (BosNewsLife)–Russian President Vladimir Putin has received parliamentary approval for military action in neighboring Ukraine, where thousands of Russian forces have landed on the Crimean Peninsula. It comes amid tensions elsewhere including in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kharkiv where dozens were injured when a pro-Russian protest turned violent, with demonstrators trying to storm the local government building.
Amid thye turmoil, Ukraine’s interim government appeared to lose control over Crimea, after Russia admitted to sending 6,000 Russian forces to the troubled region.
Crimea’s new pro-Russian Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov made clear he does not recognize the central authority in Kyiv and urged Russia to intervene.
“All commanders have to follow my orders. Those who refuse, can leave,” he said.
“Recognizing my responsibility for the lives and security of the people, I ask Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to offer assistance in providing peace and order in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.”
And in another worrying sign for the Ukrainian interim government, the Crimean prime minister said a referendum on Crimea’s independence would be brought forward from the end of May to later this month.
He spoke while troops believed to be Russian forces were seen around two airports, key roads and government buildings.
United States President Barack Obama was weighing his options Saturday, after warning Russia that an invasion would trigger an international response.
“The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine,” he said.
The U.S. considers boycotting the upcoming G8 summit in Russia.
Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, has appealed to Russia to halt the invasion in Crimea. But with ongoing military movements there was no sign that Moscow would listen.
Additionally, Russia’s foreign ministry announced that Russia’s Consulate General in Crimea will give out Russian passports to servicemen in Ukraine’s controversial and now-disbanded Berkut riot police.
Protesters in Ukraine had accused the force of shooting at demonstrators, killing dozens of often young people.