On March 1 Russian President Vladimir Putin secured permission from his parliament to use military force to protect Russian citizens in Ukraine and told U.S. President Barack Obama he had the right to defend Russian interests and nationals, spurning Western pleas not to intervene. While Russian military continues bloodlessly seizing Ukrainian military units and other objects in Crimea, Ukraine's security council ordered the general staff to immediately put all armed forces on highest alert. Thus, the Defence Ministry was ordered to stage a call-up of reserves. So far, the Western response to Russia's aggression has been largely symbolic. Thus, on March 2 Barack Obama and others suspended preparations for a G8 summit in Sochi. Some countries also recalled their ambassadors from Russia.
Now everyone is waiting on whether Russia makes a military move in predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow demonstrators have marched and raised Russian flags over public buildings in several cities in the last few days.
00:07. 'Traces found on a roof of the building of the National Bank of Ukraine allow us to say that it was a place of aimed fire during a mass shooting on February 20 on Instytutska Street in Kyiv', stated Acting Prosecutor General of Ukraine Oleg Mahnitsky.
00:22. Britain's finance ministry said on Wednesday, March 5, it would join other European Union countries in freezing the assets of 18 Ukrainians suspected of misappropriating state funds, in line with an agreement reached by the EU earlier in the day.
00:31. Estonia denied that a leaked telephone call showed that its foreign minister had blamed opponents of Ukraine's deposed president for sniper killings during last month's unrest - as Russian media have suggested.
The Baltic state acknowledged that the audio recording of a conversation between Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was authentic, but rejected the way some have interpreted it.
01:21. The Verkhovna Rada of Crimea acted within its authority and in accordance with applicable law in appointing Sergei Aksenov as a Prime Minister, says a statement of the Legal Department of the Supreme Council of Crimea, published on the website of the Crimean parliament.
08:02. The European Union froze the assets on Thursday of ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, former prime minister Mykola Azarov and 16 other senior Ukrainian officials suspected of misusing state funds and violating human rights.
08:20. Ukraine flew its flag over the government headquarters in the eastern city of Donetsk on Thursday and ejected pro-Moscow demonstrators that occupied it, ending a siege that Kiev had seen as part of a Russian plan to create a pretext to invade.
Police said they had taken more than 70 people into custody for questioning after clearing out the regional administration headquarters and another government building.
Officers at the scene said one of those held was Pavel Gubarev, the leader of the protests, who had declared himself "people's governor" and insisted the police should report to him, despite failing to persuade lawmakers to name him provincial boss while his followers occupied the building.
Police officials declined to comment on Gubarev's case. Kyiv put him on a wanted list released on Wednesday.
08:46. Today, on the night of March 6, blocking of Ukrainian military units in Crimea was weakened with only representatives of the so-called 'self-defence of Crimea' remaining nearby.
But later, armed men in unmarked camouflage came back and began to prepare for a thorough Ukrainian military siege, in particular, began to dig trenches.
Machinery and Russian soldiers who left the territory in the evening, returned to a territory near the 36th brigade in a village of Perevalnoe near Simferopol.
The US and Europe are pushing the Kremlin to accept international monitors in Crimea and negotiate a solution to the stand-off there through a “contact group, otherwise the West says it will be forced to consider sanctions against Russia.
Discussions with Russia to resolve the crisis in Ukraine will continue, said Kerry.
09:32. The OSCE will additionally send five unarmed military observers to Ukraine. Thus, the OSCE mission in Ukraine will increase to 40 people, says a message published in the official Twitter of the organization.
09:56. Canada will impose economic sanctions on those who worked for ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday.
'At the request of the prosecutor-general of Ukraine, we will be imposing economic sanctions on members of the Yanukovich regime', Harper told Parliament. He gave no further details.
10:28. Pavel Gubarev, leader of the protests in Donetsk, who had declared himself "people's governor" and insisted the police should report to him, said he is still free.
'I am free, I am in an apartment with reporters, I'm under surveillance, I do not rule out option of my arrest', he said.
10:37. Journalist and social activist Tatyana Chornovol, who was severely beaten by AntiMaidan supporters in December, was appointed government commissioner for anti-corruption policy. A corresponding decree was announced by the press service of the Cabinet.
11:06. For the past day Ukrainian border guards prevented 540 Russian 'tourists' who are suspected of extremist activities from entering Ukraine. Some of the 'tourists' are reported to be suspected in transportation of weapons, ammunition and explosives, the press service of the State Border Service of Ukraine reported on Thursday, March 6.
11:15. Citizen of Russia Alexey Chaly, who was named 'mayor' of Sevastopol by its residents on a pro-Russian rally, said that his city would not participate in the presidential elections. l
He said this on March 5 during a meeting with veterans. According to him, Sevastopol refuses participate in the elections, 'imposed by an illegitimate government'.
11:28. Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said that the crisis in Crimea is not only Ukraine's problem, but also a problem of the whole Europe, and called Russian troops to urgently return to their places of permanent deployment.
11:37. Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.
11:41. Number of victims of the anti-government protests in Ukraine since November 30, 2013, has increased to 100 people, reports the press service of the Health Ministry.
11:44. So called 'Crimean self-defence' captured the main headquarters of the Crimean branch of the Party of Regions in Simferopol.
11:55. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the whole world is united in support of Ukraine and Russia and made a wrong choice.
12:16. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) jointly with the Interior Ministry seized three business class cars that were illegally used by former Attorney General Victor Pshonka, reported the press service of the SBU.
12:30. So called Crimean self-defence, which obeys illegitimate Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksenov, seized an office of the local Public Prosecutor. Acting Crimean prosecutor Alexei Ugryumova was not allowed to continue his job.
12:33. Armed Russian military keeps blocking 10 objects of the Ukrainian State Border Service in Crimea, reported the press service of the State Border Service of Ukraine.
12:44. Unidentified uniformed men captured captured a helicopter on Thursday at around 11:00 am that brought journalists from Kyiv to an aircraft factory in Sevastopol (Crimea), reported chief of the Crimean Ministry of Defence media center Vladislav Seleznev.
12:55. Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov called madmen his colleagues, who voted for the annexation of Crimea to Russia.
13:00. Russian military tonight sank decommissioned anti-submarine ship 'Ochakov' at the entrance to Lake Donuzlav, thus blocking the ships of the Southern Naval Base of the Naval Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from entering the Black Sea.
13:05. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov claims that a company of Sergei Kurchenko during 2012-2013 imported petroleum products into the country for the amount of 25 billion UAH without customs clearance and payment of taxes and fees. He wrote about this on Facebook.
13:06. Russia's State Duma is ready to consider a bill on the possibility of joining Crimea to Russia. It could happen as early as the next week, leader of the 'Fair Russia' Sergei Mironov said.
13:27. The decision of the Crimean parliament to join Crimea in the Russian Federation was caused by threats of the Ukrainian authorities, Vice-Speaker of the Supreme Council of Crimea Sergey Tsekov said.
13:32. First Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev said that Ukrainian military, which is based in Crimea, will have to take an oath of allegiance to Russia after Crimea's accession to Russia.
13:36. Russia's State Duma MP Yevgeny Fyodorov ('United Russia') is preparing a bill to amend the Administrative Code, Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, as well as laws to combat terrorism and extremism.
The amendments relate to the establishment of administrative and criminal liability for the media, 'which allow publications of false anti-Russian information, provides information and supports extremist anti-Russian separatist forces, including the reflection of events beyond the borders of Russia'.
13:37. Russian President Vladimir Putin held an operational meeting with the Russian Security Council, during which they discussed the adoption of a decision to apply for entry into the Russian Federation by the Crimean Parliament. There is no official information on the outcome of the meeting.
13:42. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development believes that the world community has an obligation to provide financial assistance to Ukraine.
EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti sees five reasons for this:
- Strengthening the financial system
- Political stabilization
- Private sector development
- Honest government
- being Europe
13:49. If Crimeans vote in a referendum against Crimea joining Russia, Crimean deputies will lay down their powers, said Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev.
14:02. Estonia has opened a criminal investigation into the illegal wiretapping of Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton.
14:12. The OSCE military observer mission, consisting of up to 40 people, is at the entrance to Crimea, but can't get access to the peninsula.
'They are now at the entrance to Crimea, they were stopped by men in uniform, and now negotiations are continuing', Director of Information Policy of the Foreign Ministry Yevhen Perebiynis said.
14:26. Head of the European Union to Ukraine Yang Tombinsky believes that the issue of Crimea's exit from Ukraine can only be addressed by a national referendum.
14:32. A U.S. guided-missile destroyer is bound for the Black Sea in what the Navy calls a routine visit unrelated to events in Ukraine.
The USS Truxtun, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer with about 300 sailors on board, departed Greece early Thursday, said a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa in Naples.
The ship is scheduled to train with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces for an unspecified period of time, conducting joint maneuvers and landing aircraft on ships. The spokesman, Lt. Shawn Eklund, said the visit is unrelated to Russia’s recent incursion into Ukraine.
14:43. Head of the EU Delegation in Ukraine Yang Tombinsky told reporters he believes that Parliament Speaker, Acting President Oleksandr Turchinov has the authority to sign an association agreement with the EU on behalf of Ukraine.
15:10. The Prosecutor General's Office is exploring the possibility of reorganization of the prosecution plans to reduce staff and departments by one thousand employees.
15:20. The North Caucasus Military District is blocking the airport 'Belbek' near Sevastopol. This is evidenced by the investigation of Irek Murtazin for 'Novaya Gazeta'. Journalist shows pictures to confirm his version.
15:24. Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko said that the decision of the Supreme Council of Crimea to hold a referendum on the issue of autonomy is illegal.
15:29. The U.S. imposed visa and financial sanctions against Russian and Crimean officials who are held responsible for endangering the integrity of Ukraine. The decree was signed by President Barack Obama.
15:36. The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people calls on people to boycott the referendum on secession of Crimea from Ukraine, scheduled for March 16.
15:39. The situation in Crimea was reflected in the activities of the State Penitentiary Service, head of of the State Penitentiary Service Sergei Sidorenko said today at a briefing in Kyiv.
15:42. Former presidential representative for international energy security Bogdan Sokolovsky said that the losses inflicted by Russian troops to Crimea and all Ukraine should be deducted from the total debt owed to Russia.
15:48. Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov calls to introduce am international peacekeeping force of the UN security forces to Crimea.
16:16. Crimean Tatars have asked presidents of Turkey, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to prevent Crimea's exit from Ukraine.
16:19. The International Association of Lawyers condemns the invasion of Russia to Ukraine as a violation of the UN Charter and calls for an independent international investigation of this case.
16:27. Ukraine is ready to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union asap. According to 'Interfax-Ukraine', this statement was made in Brussels on Thursday.
16:39. Armed men in unmarked uniform have released Ukrainian helicopter captured by them on Thursday in Sevastopol.
16:48. Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said that Crimea will remain an integral part of Ukraine and urged Russia not to recognize the Crimean separatists.
16:58. The U.S. doesn't recognize the legitimacy of referendum on accession to Russia scheduled in Crimea for March 16.
17:02. The pro-Russian protest leader in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk, Pavel Gubarev, has been arrested in his apartment. BBC reporters on the ground witnessed the arrest taking place by Ukrainian security services in the last few minutes.
17:13. Russian soldiers, who cordoned off the base of the marines in Feodosia (Crimea), tried to hinder the passage of a minivan with the products to the territory of the Ukrainian base, reports LB.ua correspondent from the ground (pictures, video).
17:25. The Prosecutor General of Ukraine has introduced an information on the grounds of a criminal offence by Viktor Yanukovich to the Unified Register of pretrial investigations. It's all about changing the Constitution in 2010, which let him seize the state power.
17:33. Main Investigation Department of the Security Service of Ukraine has begun pre-trial investigation in connection with the decision to join Crimea to the Russian Federation, adopted by the deputies of the Supreme Council of Crimea. MPs are charged with infringement of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
17:54. NATO urged Russia on Thursday to call back to bases its forces on the Ukrainian Crimea peninsula, saying it stood by Ukraine's territorial integrity in the face of the greatest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War.
"Ukraine is a valued and long-standing partner for NATO. In these difficult moments NATO stands by Ukraine, NATO stands by Ukraine's sovereignty, integrity and by the fundamental principles of international law," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
18:42. The Attorney General's Office filed a lawsuit for cancellation of a decision by the Crimean Supreme Council on holding a referendum on accession to Russia, reported the press service of the Ministry.
19:19. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has stopped the action of the Crimean Parliament decision on joining of Crimea to Russia and a local referendum on the issue, appointed on March 16. Moreover, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's Parliament, will initiate the dissolution of the Supreme Council of Crimea.
19:47. The EU has suspended talks with Russia on visas and on a new basic agreement. German chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to consider the freezing of accounts of the Russian officials.
19:59. The EU considers referendum on independence of Crimea illegal, stated British Prime Minister David Cameron.
20:12. The European Union is ready to sign a political part of an Association Agreement with Ukraine before the presidential elections scheduled for May 25 2014, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said at a press conference in Brussels after an emergency EU summit on the situation in Crimea.
21:34. Sevastopol City Council today decided to join Sevastopol to Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation, reported the press service of the city council.
21:46. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that a proposed referendum in Crimea to join Russia would violate international law and said U.S. sanctions were aimed at punishing Moscow for its intervention in Ukraine, reports Reuters.
'The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law', Obama told reporters at the White House.
'Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine',he said.
21:59. Summit of the European Union approved an €11-billion package of assistance to Ukraine proposed by the European Commission, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
22:17. European Union leaders agreed to suspend visa and investment talks with Russia on Thursday in reaction to its seizure of Crimea, and said they would freeze Russian assets and withdraw from a G8 summit if Russia does not reverse course.
Diplomats said the EU's aim was to set out a three-step process, with sanctions pressure steadily increasing if Russia does not respond and start to engage in mediation.
Beyond the suspension of visa and investment talks, and the potential withdrawal from the G8 meeting, the EU will consider imposing travel restrictions on Russian officials, an arms embargo and asset freezes.
22:56. Following are names published by the British government on Thursday of Ukrainians whose assets will be frozen, reports Reuters:
1. Mykola Azarov, born 17/12/1947, former prime minister
2. Oleksii Azarov, son of former prime minister
3. Raisa Bohatyriova, born 06/01/1953, former minister of health
4. Ihor Kalinin, born 28/12/1959, former adviser to president
5. Andrii Kliuiev, born 12/08/1964, former head of presidential administration
6. Serhii Kliuiev, 12/08/1969, businessman, brother of Andrii Kliuiev
7. Serhiy Kurchenko, born 21/09/1985, businessman
8. Olena Lukash, born 12/11/1976, former justice minister
9. Andriy Portnov, born 27/10/1973, former adviser to president
10. Artem Pshonka, born 19/03/1976, son of former prosecutor general
11. Viktor Pshonka, born 06/02/1954, former prosecutor general
12. Viktor Ratushniak, born 16/10/1959, former deputy minister of internal affairs
13. Dmytro Tabachnyk, born 28/11/1963, former minister of education and science
14. Oleksandr Yakymenko, born 22/12/1964, former head of security service
15. Oleksandr Yanukovych, born 01/07/1973, son of former president
16. Viktor (Fedorovych) Yanukovych, born 09/07/1950, former president
17. Viktor (Viktorovych) Yanukovych, born 16/07/1981, son of former president
18. Vitalii Zakharchenko, born 20/01/1963, former minister of internal affairs