RPT: EU Calls on Russia to Pull Back Troops
Reuters news agency reports that the European Union called on Russia to pull its troops back to bases. Russia reportedly gave Ukrainian forces a 10 p.m. ET deadline to surrender in the Crimea region.
The 28 EU foreign ministers held an emergency meeting Monday to discuss their response to the Ukrainian crisis. The EU is threatening to freeze visa liberalization and economic cooperation talks and boycott the G8 summit in Russia's Sochi if Moscow does not back off in Ukraine.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the EU would give Russia until an emergency summit of EU leaders is held on Thursday to show clear signs of goodwill, including a willingness to open talks and a withdrawal of Russian troops to their barracks in the Crimea.
If not, Fabius said the EU would start implementing punitive measures.
New video above shows Russian President Vladimir Putin watching war games near St. Petersburg as tensions with Ukraine escalate.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry made remarks on the crisis in Ukraine during today’s meeting with the prime minister of Moldova.
He said, “There are challenges. I regret to say that Russia, in some of the challenges we're seeing right now in Ukraine, has put pressure on Moldova. There are challenges with respect to their energy sources and also their ability to trade. But we are committed firmly to the direction that Moldovans have chosen for themselves and their government has expressed a desire to pursue.”
Meantime, Reuters is now reporting via Interfax news agency that there has been no ultimatum issued to Ukrainian forces in Crimea.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Black Sea Fleet has not issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender by 5 a.m. on Tuesday or face an assault, Interfax news agency quoted an official at the fleet's headquarters as saying.
Russia's Black Sea Fleet has a base in Crimea and Moscow has effectively established control over the peninsula, which is part of Ukraine. Interfax quoted an unnamed source in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry earlier on Monday as saying a deadline to surrender at 0300 GMT had been set by the Black Sea Fleet's commander.
The same news agency later quoted an unnamed representative at the fleet's headquarters as saying no assault was planned, adding: "This is complete nonsense."