KIEV: The Ukrainian acting president Oleksandr Turchynov on Thursday warned Russia against any movement of its naval forces in the country’s Crimea region, calling it an act of military aggression against Kiev.
Turchynov, speaking at a parliament session on Thursday, warned Moscow that the new leadership would consider any troop movements outside the Russian Black Sea fleet’s base in Sevastopol as military aggression.
The warning by the Ukrainian acting president comes after pro-Russia gunmen seized government and parliament buildings in Simferopol, Ukraine’s autonomous Republic of Crimea.
Russia urges Western powers to refrain from provocative statements on Ukraine
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has urged Western powers to refrain from “provocative statements” and to “respect the non-aligned status of Ukraine, enshrined in its law.”
“When NATO starts assessing the situation in Ukraine, it sends a wrong signal. The NATO Secretary General [Anders Fogh Rasmussen] thought fit to announce that Ukrainian NATO membership is not the highest priority of the Ukrainian leadership. Does it mean that the membership remains not the highest, but still a priority? That is again someone trying to decide for the Ukrainian people,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The attempts to now and again unilaterally replay the concerted actions, the unwillingness to perceive the real situation as a whole, have never come to any good,” the ministry said.
Ukrainian parliament approves Arseny Yatsenyuk as country’s new prime
Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian parliament approved the leader of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party Arseny Yatsenyuk as the country’s new prime minister as well as approved the list of ministers to be in Yatsenyuk’s cabinet.
Putin orders surprise military exercises
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered surprise military exercises for 150,000 troops in Russia including some based close to Ukraine.
The test of combat readiness applies to ground, air defense and tank units, as well as Russia’s Northern and Baltic fleets. It is among the largest such exercises the country has undertaken in recent years, and comes amid rising displeasure in Moscow with developments in Ukraine.