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The latest breaking news from Ukraine in English

Ukrainian crisis: March 12 (live updates)

LB.ua chronicles the latest events in Ukraine in English for foreign readers.

Read previous news on the topic:

Ukrainian crisis: March 7

Ukrainian crisis: March 11

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.

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.

As of March 10 Russia has introduced around 20 thousands soldiers to the territory of Crimea, and their number keeps growing. Also, there are about 220 thousand Russian soldiers on the Russian side of the south-eastern borders of Ukraine and Crimea.

00:09. Telecommunications service provider company 'Volya' has decided to stop broadcasting three Russian channels - ORT (Channel global network), 'RTR Planeta' and 'NTV-Mir' in its networks at the request of the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting.

00:28. An unspoken decision on the annexation of Crimea to Russia has been taken at the highest level in the Kremlin, wrote Russian edition 'Gazeta.ru', citing its own sources.

00:42. Ukraine has already lost the opportunity to take part in an information warfare in Crimea, stated the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska.

00:56. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its strong protest to the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry on the recognition of the so-called declaration of independence of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

08:24. A Russian court issued an arrest warrant for Ukrainian far-right leader Dmytro Yarosh in absentia on Wednesday on charges of inciting terrorism, a symbolic move in support of Moscow's argument that "extremists" stole power in neighboring Ukraine.

08:38. The House of Representatives voted Tuesday evening on a nonbinding resolution that passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week condemning Russia’s deployment of troops.

The lawmakers also called for sanctions against Russian officials, banks, and other state agencies.

The resolution will demand that Russia withdraw its forces from the Crimean Peninsula. It will also urge President Barack Obama to back Ukraine economically and suspend Russia from the G-8, among other measures.

The Senators also demand that the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) reconsider its decision to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

08:51. Ukraine won't use force to stop the Russian occupation of Crimea in order to avoid putting its eastern borders under risk, Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

09:13. Lawyers of the 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement leader Dmytro Yarosh intend to appeal a decision to arrest him in absentia, issued by a Russian court. Lawyers insists that consideration of the case passed in violation of the law.

09:30. French authorities believe that the Declaration of Independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, adopted by the Supreme Council of Crimea on Tuesday, March 11, was illegitimate, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said.

09:54. Two dozen Russian soldiers invaded a motor battalion in Bakhchisarai (Crimea) and demanded the Ukrainian troops there to betray Ukraine and change their side in the conflict, or leave the territory, head of a press center of the Defense Ministry in Crimea Vladislav Seleznev reported on his Facebook page.

10:12. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York raised the issue of the Ukrainian crisis and situation of the Crimean Tatars. They also discussed the conflict in Syria and the Cyprus issue.

10:24. For the time of the referendum on the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation, the airspace over the peninsula will be closed, so-called leader of the Crimean government Sergei Aksenov twitted.

10:25. Unrecognized Crimean authorities intend to nationalize the Ukrainian state-owned enterprises, which are located on the peninsula in the coming days, said First Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea Rustam Temirgaliev.

10:35. Ukrainian armed forces, despite the difficult situation, are in full combat readiness, First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema said. Russian troops are constantly increasing their presence in Crimea and on borders, he added.

10:44. Airport 'Simferopol', which is among the three largest in Ukraine, has limited reception of aircraft in anticipation of a referendum on secession. In particular, Crimea doesn't accept aircraft from Kyiv and Istanbul.

10:51. Any results of the all-Crimean referendum, scheduled for March 16, will have no legal force and will be recognized neither by Ukraine nor by the world community, First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema said.

11:17. Former governor of Kharkiv region Mikhail Dobkin is not going to refuse to participate in the presidential elections on May 25, despite being under house arrest on suspicion of inciting separatism.

11:17. Former Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Vilkul believes the only way to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine is the decentralization of power, he said on Wednesday during a roundtable at the Gorshenin Institute.

11:27. MP, a long time Mejlis leader Mustafa Dzhemilev intends to address Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Crimea, he told in an interview to Radіo Freedom.

11:41. Root causes of the emergence of separatist sentiment in Ukraine are three sets of problems - political, economic and social, said the Regions Party MP Sergei Grinevetsky during a roundtable discussion at the Gorshenin Institute.

11:42. Over the past day 305 Russian citizens were denied entering Ukraine because of their probable participation in activities aimed at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, the press service of the State Border Service of Ukraine reported.

11:50. On the night of March 12 officers of the Security Service of Ukraine in Kherson region found and detained reconnaissance group of the Russian Armed Forces, which penetrated into the territory of Kherson region in Crimea avoiding control points. The Russians collected intelligence data.

12:08. Regional Administrative Court of Ukraine, satisfied a joint lawsuit of MP Anatoly Gritsenko and singer Ruslana, finally founding the actions of 'Berkut' riot police illegitimate.

12:12. One of the reasons for the relationship problems between the central government and the regions of Ukraine is that the center doesn't understand the principles of life in regional cities, expert in the field of social engineering Marina Tkachenko said during a roundtable at the Gorshenin Institute.

12:26. A joint exercise involving U.S., Bulgarian and Romanian naval forces in the Black Sea started on Wednesday just across the water from the Crimean Peninsula, where Russian military groups have seized control from Ukrainian authorities.

12:43. An international airport 'Simferopol' has cancelled all flights from Kyiv to Simferopol and from Simferopol to Kyiv for the period from 12 to 17 March 2014 inclusive.

12:45. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk suggested that the European Union should not buy gas individually, but centrally - via Brussels.

13:00. A House of Culture of Georgia has cancelled a theater performance of famous Russian actor Sergei Bezrukov planned in Tbilisi due to his support of the occupation of Crimea.

13:02. Roscomnadzor issued a warning to an online edition 'Lenta.ru' for publishing an interview with a leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement 'Right sector' Andriy Tarasenko.

Russia's 'Lenta.ru' is known for its unbiased coverage of the events in Ukraine.

13:13. The Ministry of Agriculture of Russia increased a forecast of grain exports this season to 22 million tons, hoping to intercept contracts from Ukrainian suppliers, Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov stated.

13:14. German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a meeting of the parliamentary group criticized Russia's actions in Crimea by calling them annexation.

13:35. The Group of Seven advanced economies will demand that Russia halt efforts to annex Ukraine's Crimea region in a statement to be issued later on Wednesday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said, reports Reuters.

'Today ... we will release another statement that will leave no doubts about the determination of G7 countries and the European Union', Barroso told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

'We call on the Russian Federation to cease all efforts to annex Ukraine's autonomous republic of Crimea', Barroso said.

A European Commission spokesman said later the statement would be issued at 2 p.m. Brussels time (1300 GMT) and not at 12.30 p.m. (1130 GMT) as stated by Barroso.

13:48. Russian military has blocked the work of a checkpoint 'Crimea - Ferry' in Kerch, reported the press service of the Ukrainian State Border Guard. As of March 12 47 objects of the ministry are being blocked by Russians.

14:16. Leader of the 'Batkivschyna' party Yulia Tymoshenko predicts the emergence of guerrilla war in Crimea in the case of its annexation by Russia. She also calls for tough economic sanctions against Moscow.

14:21. Russia's economic decline has now become the main scenario, the Center for the Development of the Higher School of Economics reports.

14:33. Russia is preparing air and ground frontline offensive operations against the whole Ukraine, former first deputy head of the General Staff, Vice Admiral Igor Kabanenko wrote on Facebook.

14:40. The Ukrainian government expects to hold presidential elections in Ukraine on May 25, including the territory of the Crimean autonomy, Secretary of National Security and Defence Andriy Paruby said.

14:41. The State Treasury of Ukraine has unblocked Crimea's budget accounts, First Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea Rustam Temirgaliev said at a press conference. Thus, the authorities of the autonomy gained access to money to hold a referendum.

14:57. The Cabinet of Ministers intends to create a Financial Investigation Service, or financial police, Minister of the Cabinet Ostap Semerak stated.

14:59. Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against officials of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine because of their commencement of proceedings against the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea Aleksand Vitko.

15:10. Investigative agency of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiated a criminal case against Ukrainian businessman Gennady Balashov. He is accused of public calls to extremism, incitement to murder of two or more persons, motivated by political and ethnic hatred or enmity.

15:15. The National Guard will have more resources and power than the internal forces, head of the National Security Council and Defence Andriy Paruby stated at a press conference.

15:42. According to a poll conducted by the Centre of 'Social Monitoring' and the Ukrainian Institute for Social Research in conjunction with the Department of monitoring studies of socio-economic transformation of the Institute of Economics and Forecasting of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, if Yulia Tymoshenko participated in elections, 15.5% of all respondents would vote for her, 14.2% voters wold support leader of the 'Udar' party Vitali Klitschko, and 13.7% - would support individual MP, leader of the 'Solidarity' party Petro Poroshenko.

In addition, one of the leaders of the Party of Regions - Sergei Tigipko - would get 11.4% of votes, the Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko - 6.4%, the leader of 'Svoboda' Oleg Tyahniboka - 3.7%, the Radical Party leader Oleg Lyashko - 3%. 15.4% wouldn't participate in the elections, and 16.7% more were indecisive.

15:50. The National Bank of Ukraine has no plans to introduce any specific restrictions on banking operations in Crimea, despite separatist actions of people who have taken power over the peninsula.

15:54. Russia wants to turn Crimea in a polygon named after Vladimir Putin, Secretary of National Security and Defence Andriy Paruby said. According to him, Ukraine has a plan 'B', which will be put into effect in case of emergency.

15:58. Leaders of the Group of Seven economies told Russia on Wednesday to stop its work on a referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region and 'cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea' or face action, reports Reuters.

The statement came in response to Crimea's parliament voting to join Russia and setting a referendum for Sunday on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.

The G7 leaders said they would not recognize the outcome of the referendum, which they said 'would have no legal effect', calling it a 'deeply flawed process which would have no moral force' because of the presence of Russian troops in the region.

16:05. A video showing valuables taken away from a residence 'Mezhigirya', where ousted President Viktor Yanukovich lived during his last days in Ukraine, on February 19-22, has been published on the Internet (video).

16:09. The Communist Party is against the National Guard being formed of people with a certain political orientation, leader of the party Petro Symonenko stated at a briefing in Dnepropetrovsk.

16:28. President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said his country hasn't stopped its cooperation with Ukraine, thus acknowledging Ukraine's current authorities. However, Belarus will fulfill its obligations under the treaty of alliance with Russia, he added.

16:36. The Ministry of Justice is developing a special law on the reform of the Supreme Council of Justice, head of the ministry Pavel Petrenko told LB.ua.

16:40. Mission of the OSCE military observers in its preliminary report has documented presence of the Russian military personnel at the entrance to Crimea, Director of Information Policy Department of the Foreign Ministry Evgeniy Perebiynis stated.

16:47. Russia allowed the Ukrainian side to make an observation flight to confirm the absence of military activities that threaten the security of Ukraine, told reporters Russia's Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov.

16:58. A Kremlin stooge Alexei Goreslavsky has been appointed a chief of Russian Internet edition 'Lenta.ru', which was one of a few Russian editions obejctively covering the events in Crimea and Ukraine.

17:05. The EU may allocate the first part of the European financial assistance to Ukraine - €1.6 billion - next week, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said.

17:15. The EU member states have agreed on a draft sanctions against Russia, including visa bans and freezing of assets of those responsible for the violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. This is evidenced by the appropriate document received by Russian Reuters. President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov most probably won't be sanctioned.

17:18. Russian President Vladimir Putin in a conversation with Ukrainian MP Mustafa Dzhemilev has promised the Crimean Tatars a level of life corresponding the one in Tatarstan.

In a telephone conversation with Putin Dzhemilev made a remark that a referendum in Crimea won't be recognized by the world community and Ukraine, but Putin said that Ukraine had left the USSR not quite legitimately.

17:31. Department of Education and Science of Sevastopol City Hall has moved a spring break in the city's schools for a period from March 13 to March 22 March due to an upcoming referendum.

17:38. A number of private postal services today stopped delivering packages and freight to Crimea.

17:49. Crimea's so called Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov told about possible provocations by the 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement members, disguised as Russian soldiers.

18:40. U.S. Congress is to consider the possibility of introducing the most severe sanctions since the end of the 'cold war' against Russia, reported Associated Press, which is in possession of a copy of the bill prepared by the Senate. According to the document, the purpose of sanctions is to force the Russian leadership to withdraw its troops from Crimea.

18:57. Signing an agreement on a common aviation area between Ukraine and the European Union, which was scheduled on March 14, has been postponed due to the lack of coordination in the EU over the issue of Gibraltar, reported the press service of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine.

19:18. Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, NATO General Philip Breedlove said that the Alliance has no doubt that there are Russian military units acting in Crimea.

19:32. Pro-Russian organizations are going to hold a referendum on federalization of Ukraine in Kharkiv on Sunday, March 16, member of the executive committee of the association 'Veche Kharkiv' Yegor Logvinov said at a press conference. The city's authorities are going to ban the event through the court.

19:45. Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights was unable to visit the Crimea because the Crimean authorities didn't let him there, saying they were unable to ensure the safety of the delegation.

20:11. The Ministry of Finance offers to take the property of the fugitive oligarchs through the court, and hopes that it will be used for the benefit of the state budget.

20:27. Russian military on Wednesday evening seized an electronic intelligence post in the west of Crimea.

20:41. The General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine has warned the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation about non-interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine.

21:10. According to various photo and video sources, obtained by the Ukrainian media, Russia pulls military equipment to the northern border of Ukraine (video).

21:59. Russian soldiers plunder Ukrainian military bases in Bakhchisarai, Belbek and Saki (Crimea), chairman of the Center for Military-Political Studies Dmitry Tymchuk posted on Facebook.

22:13. Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaychenko said that Pyotr Zima Winters, who was illegally appointed Chief of the Security Service in Crimea, is involved in the mass killings of people in Kyiv.

Nalyvaychenko is convinced that the 'war criminal' and 'imposter' will be arrested by the military prosecutor.

23:15. Ukrainian TV chahnel '1+1' has lost contact with its crew in Abkhazia. There is every reason to believe that the journalists - reporter Natalka Pisnya and cameraman Sergei Kiselev - were kidnapped.

During the trip, they stopped at a local hotel. According to the latest information provided by Natalka Pisnya to the channel's management, hotel management asked journalists to stay in their rooms, saying that they want to talk with employees of local security structures. After that, the crew of '1 +1' was taken to an interrogation in an unknown direction.

Channel '1 +1' is deeply concerned about the situation with the illegal detention of the Ukrainian journalists and calls on the authorities of Russia and Abkhazia to clarify the situation.

23:33. U.S. President Barack Obama during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk expressed his admiration with the courage of the Ukrainian people, who stand for democracy and the universal right to choose their future.

According to Obama, after Viktor Yanukovich ran away from the country, the Verkhovna Rada has taken the responsibility for completing the powerful vacuum to form the government, and is now introducing reforms and negotiating with the IMF.

Obama also noted that Ukraine faces the threat of the loss of sovereignty and its territorial integrity. Russia acts in violation of international laws and treaties which it had signed, American president added.

The president also said the United States and other countries of the world 'will be forced' to make Russia 'pay dearly if it continues its policy towards Ukraine'.

'There is another way, and we hope that President Putin is ready to choose it', said Obama. 'But if he doesn't, I am sure that the international community will strongly support the Ukrainian government'.

U.S. president also called a referendum in the Crimea illegitimate and held at gunpoint. U.S. does not recognize the referendum, Obama added.

Obama said the U.S. will provide a package of assistance to Ukraine and appealed to Congress to expedite the adoption of a law guaranteeing the provision of $1 billion credit.

Yatsenyuk thanked the United States for support. He said that everything that Ukraine asks from Russia is to comply with its obligations and remain within the diplomatic process. Ukraine, in turn, guarantees that it will fulfill all international treaties.

Ukrainian Prime Minister said that Ukraine, by signing an agreement on the political part of the EU, will be able to be a good neighbor and partner to Russia, but not its subordinate.

23:50. Former head of the Security Service of Ukraine Oleksandr Yakymenko in an interview with Russian television suggested that on February 20 snipers in the center of Kyiv shot at people with the consent of the commandant of the Maidan, acting Secretary of the National Security and Defence Andriy Paruby.

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