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Ukraine's president fears Russia could invade after Crimea referendum

Acting leader claims Kremlin is behind turmoil in eastern Ukraine and there is 'real danger' Moscow could seize more territory Ukrainian servicemen in the Kherson region on Saturday, where Ukraine's defence ministry said the military repelled an attempt by ussian forces to enter a long spit of land bordering !rimea" #hotograph$ %alentyn &girenko' euter

Saturday () March *+(, -uke .arding in Kiev, Shaun Walker in Simferopol and agencies in /onetskUkraine's president said there was a 0real danger0 Moscow would seize further territory after Sunday's referendum in !rimea, and accused 0Kremlin agents0 of orchestrating turmoil in the ussian1speaking east of his country" 2he country's acting leader, &leksandr 2urchynov, said there was every possibility ussia would advance deeper into Ukraine after the poll, condemned by the west as illegal" .e told parliament on Saturday$ 02he situation is very dangerous" 3'm not e4aggerating" 2here is a real danger from threats of invasion of Ukrainian territory" 5e will reconvene on Monday at (+am"0 &n Saturday a group of ussian soldiers advanced beyond Kremlin1occupied !rimea and landed by helicopter in an area of southern Ukraine under Kiev's control, Ukraine's defence ministry said" 6ighty ussian troops arrived at ("7+pm in the village of Strilkove, in Kherson province, three miles 8)km9 beyond the !rimean border"

Ukrainian aircraft and paratroopers scrambled to the scene, the ministry said" Ukrainian troops then forced the ussians to fly off in three helicopters" :o shots were fired" 3t was unclear if this was a reconnaissance mission or an attempt to e4pand military footprint on the ground" :earby is a gas production facility" ussian's

2he area, Arbatskaya Strelka, is a long sliver of land running parallel to !rimea" Most of the infrastructure that supplies !rimea with water and electricity is located outside in the Kherson region" Ukraine's acting foreign minister, Andriy /eshchyta, said it was essential that the new government in Kiev, supported by the 6U and US, resisted what he called ussian 0provocations0" 05e have studied the e4perience of ;eorgia very well,0 he said, referring to the then ;eorgian president Mikheil Saakashvili's attempt in *++< to grab back rebel South &ssetia, which triggered a full1scale ussian invasion" ussian1backed forces had first shelled ;eorgian villages" 05e have to be more creative,0 he said" Asked if he thought the Kremlin planned to invade eastern Ukraine ne4t week, after the !rimea poll, /eshchyta said bluntly$ 0=ou should address this to #utin"0 .e added$ 05e are ready to stand up to aggression" 5e are constantly talking to our partners" &ur position is to solve this crisis peacefully" >ut since this is a kind of war ? a diplomatic war ? between Ukraine and ussia we can't reveal all our plans"0 /eshchyta said he was prepared to discuss greater autonomy for !rimea ? but only with the proper 0legal authorities0 there, and not while there were 0guns on the streets0" .e described the referendum as 0totally illegal0" 3n Kiev the ada, Ukraine's parliament, voted to dissolve the !rimean regional assembly which organised Sunday's poll and has already endorsed union with ussia" At the U: security council in :ew =ork the !rimea referendum invalid" ussia vetoed a US1backed motion declaring

2he ussian envoy, %italy !hurkin, claimed that !rimea had been given illegally to Ukraine during Soviet times ? the apparent view of ussia's president, %ladimir #utin" ussia's vote was the only no, with !hina abstaining" 2hirteen nations voted yes" 2he US ambassador to the U:, Samantha #ower, said the result underscored Moscow's profound isolation over !rimea" ussia could not 0deny the truth that there is overwhelming international opposition to its actions,0 she suggested" 2he mood in the east, meanwhile, remains febrile after three deaths in two days in the cities of /onetsk and Kharkiv"

&n 2hursday evening ussia's foreign ministry posted an ominous statement saying that Moscow reserved the right to 0protect0 ethnic ussians in Ukraine" A day later ussia's foreign minister, Sergei -avrov ? after talks with US secretary of state, @ohn Kerry, in -ondon ? said no invasion was planned" 2here was more violence on Saturday when pro1 ussian protesters smashed windows and stormed /onetsk's security service .A" >oth cities have seen large pro1 ussian demonstrations stirred up ? Kiev says ? by Moscow and its operatives on the ground" Addressing parliament, and speaking to the political faction of the fugitive president %iktor =anukovych, who fled to ussia, 2urchinov declared$ 0=ou know as well as we do who is organising mass protests in eastern Ukraine" 3t is Kremlin agents who are organising and funding them, who are causing people to be murdered"0 A local Bournalist in Kharkiv, Curab Alazania, said that 0 ussian tourists0 from across the border were travelling throughout the region ? with a hardcore of about (,+++ pro1 ussian activists inflaming tensions" 02he mood is dangerous" 3t's difficult to live here" 2here are a lot of thugs in the city"0 .e warned$ 02here can be further bloodshed, not only in Kharkiv"0 2wo men, aged *( and 7+, were killed by buckshot late on Driday when pro1 ussian demonstrators besieged an office of the far1right Ukrainian nationalist group ight Sector, which rose to prominence fighting riot police in Kiev over the winter" #olice said 7* ight Sector activists and si4 pro1 ussian demonstrators were detained and a number of weapons seized" A spokesman for ight Sector in Kharkiv said his group had been besieged in their office overnight by pro1 ussian activists firing shotguns and rifles and throwing petrol bombs and stun grenades" Kharkiv's governor, 3hor >aluta, newly appointed by the interim authorities in Kiev, said the 0well1planned provocation by pro1 ussian activists0 began when unidentified men in a minibus provoked a confrontation with pro1 ussia demonstrators and then drove off" 5hen pursuing demonstrators caught up with the vehicle, it was parked outside the nationalists' building" 2he ight Sector spokesman, Euoted by 3nterfa41Ukraine news agency, said his group had taken no part in the initial clash and believed the minibus had been left outside its office by others" 2he prominence of groups like ight Sector in positions of influence in Kiev, and measures such as a short1lived move last month to end the use of ussian as an official language, have led ussia to accuse leaders of a 0coup0 in Ukraine of planning

to impose fascism and discriminate against

ussian1speakers"

3n Moscow, a senior foreign ministry official with responsibility for human rights issues, Konstantin /olgov, said on 2witter that the arrest in Kharkiv of people he described as 0neo1fascist militants0 must be followed by wider action to 0neutralize and punish rampant e4tremists0" 5estern powers, preparing economic sanctions against ussia over !rimea, largely dismiss ussia's characterisation of the new authorities in Kiev as the successors of :azi1allied Ukrainian forces which fought the ed Army in 5orld 5ar 33" Posted by Thavam