Ukraine crisis: Russia vows troops will stay

World Affairs Editor John Simpson: "Without, apparently, a shot being fired, Russia has taken control of the Crimean peninsula"

Russia has vowed its troops will remain in Ukraine to protect Russian interests and citizens until the political situation has been "normalised".

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was defending human rights against "ultra-nationalist threats".

Russia is now in de facto military control of the Crimea region, despite Western condemnation of a "violation of Ukraine's sovereignty".

Ukraine has ordered full mobilisation to counter the military intervention.

Crimea is the main flashpoint, but there are also demonstrations in eastern Ukraine.

At the scene

No shots have been fired and no treaties signed but Crimea is now de facto under Russian armed control.

Two large Ukrainian military bases are surrounded, with Russian troops standing alongside local self-defence groups, who demand that the Ukrainian soldiers inside defect from Kiev to Crimea's new pro-Russia government.

The naval headquarters remains blockaded and key installations like airports are still occupied. Thousands of newly-arrived Russian elite troops far outnumber Ukraine's military presence here. Crimea has in effect been cut off by roadblocks, where vehicles are being denied access to the peninsula.

At countless pro-Russia demonstrations, Moscow's intervention is warmly welcomed. But away from the nationalist fervour, Crimeans from all sides are profoundly fearful of what comes next.

Some 2,000 people waving Russian flags gathered at the regional government building in Donetsk to protest at the appointment of a new pro-Kiev governor.

Dozens later occupied the first floor of the building in Donetsk, the hometown of ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Mr Lavrov said in Geneva on Monday that the new authorities in Kiev "intend to make use of the fruits of their victory to attack human rights and fundamental freedoms of minorities".

He said the "violence of ultra-nationalists threatens the lives and the regional interests of Russians and the Russian speaking population".

Mr Lavrov, who will meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon later, also condemned Western threats of sanctions and boycotts.

In Kiev, Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that any attempt to seize Crimea would fail.

However, he also said that "for today, no military options are on the table", urging instead international economic and political support.

The crisis has hit Russian stock markets, with Moscow's main MICEX index dropping 9% in early trading. The rouble fell to an all-time low against the US dollar and Russia's central bank raised its key lending rate to 7% from 5.5%. World oil prices also surged.

Start Quote

Vladimir Putin has regained his leverage and time and space to undermine this revolution just like he did in 2005”

End Quote

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Sevastopol says Crimea is now under de facto Russian armed control although no shots have been fired.

Two large Ukrainian military bases are surrounded and key installations like airports are occupied.

Thousands of newly arrived Russian elite troops far outnumber Ukraine's military presence, our correspondent says, with roadblocks cutting off Crimea.

Ukrainian border guards have reported a build-up of armoured vehicles on the Russian side of the sea channel dividing Russia and Crimea.

Crimea map
Soldiers, believed to be Russian, in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol, 3 March Soldiers, believed to be Russian, in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol
An anti-Yanukovych protester salutes as the Ukrainian national anthem is played at Kiev's Independence Square, 3 March A supporter of the interim government salutes as the Ukrainian national anthem is played in Kiev
Sergei Lavrov in Geneva, 3 March Sergei Lavrov condemned Ukrainian ultra-nationalists with "anti-Semitic tendencies"

Pro-Russian troops have taken over the ferry terminal at Kerch in far-eastern Crimea that operates services to Russia.

Ukrainian navy commanders on Monday confirmed their loyalty to Kiev, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported, despite an attempt by pro-Russian personnel to enter the navy HQ in Simferopol and force them to switch allegiance.

Start Quote

All weekend the drumbeat of alarm has grown stronger; the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War”

End Quote

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Kiev says Ukraine's interim government has called for more international support to force Russian troops to leave.

Men across Ukraine have been receiving call-up papers and will start reporting for 10 days training from Monday.

Our correspondent says there is widespread anger at Russia's actions - and many Ukrainians say they are prepared to fight to defend their territory.

Late on Sunday, the G7 of major industrialised powers condemned Moscow's military build-up.

In a statement released from the White House, the grouping said it condemned "the Russian Federation's clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine".

It added: "We have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G8 Summit in Sochi in June."

Diplomatic moves are continuing, however, to try to find a solution.

European Union foreign ministers are due to meet in emergency session in Brussels.

Christian Fraser spoke to members of the Ukrainian navy who want the country to "stay together"

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson is travelling to Ukraine to be "personally apprised of the facts on the ground".

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is in Kiev, said the crisis in Ukraine was the biggest that Europe had faced this century.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is to travel to Ukraine on Tuesday.

Moscow has not recognised the government that took power in Kiev last month after ousting Mr Yanukovych.

Mr Yanukovych's decision in November to abandon closer ties with the EU in favour of Russia sparked massive protests in Kiev, which ended in a bloodbath, as dozens of protesters were shot dead in clashes with police.

Are you in Ukraine? What is your reaction to this news of Russian troop deployment? Email us at haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk adding 'Ukraine' in the subject heading and including your contact details.

Or share your thoughts using the form below.

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

Read the terms and conditions

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on This Story

More Europe stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.