As it happened: Ukraine crisis

Key Points

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin says there is no need to send Russian troops to Ukraine, but the use of force remains "a last resort"
  • Mr Putin says Russia reserves the right to intervene if there is "lawlessness" in Russian-speaking areas of eastern Ukraine
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned what he describes as "Russia's act of aggression in Ukraine"
  • US President Barack Obama said Mr Putin was "not fooling anyone" and that Russia had no right to intervene in Crimea
  • Ukraine's interim government says 16,000 Russian troops are now deployed across Crimea
  • Moscow has agreed to attend an extraordinary meeting of Nato members on Wednesday. All times GMT
  1.  
    00:00:

    Welcome to our coverage of fast-changing events in Ukraine, where the army is on full combat alert amid fresh diplomatic efforts to avert further escalation of the crisis and persuade Russian troops currently de facto controlling Ukraine's Crimea region to return to their bases.

     
  2.  
    00:03:

    There were some strong statements at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, which ended about an hour ago.

     
  3.  
    00:06:

    The meeting was called by Moscow. The Russian envoy to the UN, Vitaliy Churkin, produced a copy of the letter which he said had been signed by ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, asking Russia to deploy troops in Ukraine.

     
  4.  
    00:08:

    Ukraine's envoy Yuriy Sergeyev told the gathering that Kiev was yet to receive an official answer from Moscow about "why are the military forces of Russia are illegally occupying Crimea".

     
  5.  
    00:10:

    Other Security Council members - including Britain, China, France and the US - urged Russia to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

     
  6.  
    00:11:

    America's envoy Samantha Power asked the Russian representative: "Why choose military action when the consequences will be so devastating?"

     
  7.  
    00:14:

    In Crimea, Ukrainian troops remain blocked in their bases by Russian soldiers, who - according to Kiev - are now numbering 16,000 across the peninsular.

     
  8.  
    00:17:

    Ukraine says its forces in Crimea have been given until 03:00 GMT to surrender to Russia's military or face an assault - a claim denied by Moscow. Here, armed are seen standing outside Ukraine's base in Bakhchisaray.

    Armed men in military fatigues block access to Ukrainian military barracks in Bakhchisaray, Crimea. Photo: 3 March 2014
     
  9.  
    Financial Times

    tweets: Opinion: Russia cannot fight a new cold war http://on.ft.com/1dhdwa9

     
  10.  
    Lyudmila

    emails: My reaction is fear and anger. Fear of the war, because we do not want any more deaths, because I have friends and relatives in Russia, they are not the enemies. But I'm angry, because the Russian government does not respect our rights and our choice. They are threatening us with their army. They already blocked airports in Crimea and do not let anyone go into Crimea. These are not peaceful actions!

     
  11.  
    00:30:

    The BBC has produced this picture gallery, reflecting growing tensions in the region.

     
  12.  
    Michel Francoeur

    tweets: GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares under pressure as Ukraine tensions mount: * Fear of escalation in tensions over Uk... http://bit.ly/1pXpPh0

     
  13.  
    00:38:

    The growing crisis has forced Ukraine's national football team to cancel its Wednesday's friendly match against the US in Cyprus.

     
  14.  
    00:39:

    "If we do not have an opportunity to play on home soil, why shall we go to Cyprus in those troubled times for your country? We play for our people and country. Our team do not fly to Cyprus and stay at home," Ukraine's football federation chief Anatoliy Konkov was quoted as saying.

     
  15.  
    00:44:

    And here's a video round-up of the latest UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, where strong words were exchanged.

     
  16.  
    George Stavrou

    tweets: Ukrainians in London urging Cameron to act, hours before the deadline

    Demonstration in London
     
  17.  
    00:49:

    The Pentagon announces that it is putting "on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia... in light of recent events in Ukraine".

     
  18.  
    00:50:

    "We call on Russia to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine and for Russian forces in Crimea to return to their bases, as required under the agreements governing the Russia Black Sea Fleet," Pentagon press-secretary Rear Adm John Kirby says.

     
  19.  
    00:52:

    And he adds: "Some media outlets are speculating on possible ship movements in the region. There has been no change to our military posture in Europe or the Mediterranean; our Navy units continue to conduct routine, previously planned operations and exercises with allies and partners in the region."

     
  20.  
    Euromaidan PR

    tweets: Info from Feodosiya! Marine no electricity, using generators, cut off from the outside world, only Russian TV channels and mobile phones

     
  21.  
    Andrew Hunt, in Kiev

    emails: I am a British citizen living and teaching English in Kiev. It makes me ashamed to be British to see that the extent of pressure our government is intending to place on Russia to withdraw its forces from Crimea is visa bans and travel restrictions. These measures are as ridiculous and pathetic as the Russian justifications for intervention. I hardly think that Russian politicians value a holiday in Tuscany as much as our own spineless British politicians. People in Ukraine have died for the dream of being part of Europe. Whereas in the UK turnout for the EU elections is lower than 40%.

     
  22.  
    01:07:

    Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former British ambassador to the UN, tells the BBC there are many ways of putting pressure on Moscow. "There are things that can hurt the Russians, and the Russians can hurt the West," he says. "We need to back off, de-escalate, talk and see how we can help Ukraine reach a proper state with all minorities, including Russian citizens. That's the right thing to do."

     
  23.  
    A family from Ukraine

    emails: We live in Mykolayiv in the South of Ukraine. Yes it is true that most people in our region speak Russian language. However, we are Ukrainians and patriots of our Motherland. We are feeling shocked and disgusted by the invasion of Russian troops into Ukrainian land. It is particularly heart breaking as Russia and its people are our long-time allies and partners with whom we have strong historical, cultural and social ties. It is also very hard emotionally on a personal level, as we have close relatives living in Russia. Now we worry about what will happen in future. Many Ukrainians in Ukraine and Russians in Russia are torn apart from their relatives in either country because of this senseless, mad invasion.

     
  24.  
    01:19:
    Barricades near Independence Square, Kiev. 3 March 2014

    Perhaps worth mentioning that the barricades are still up in Kiev's Independence Square, manned by protesters calling themselves "self-defence units".

     
  25.  
    Piotr Lewandowski, in Poland

    emails: There is a lot of fear in Poland about what escalating [the] conflict in Ukraine would mean. If Nato moves its troops into defensive positions, Poland would be the first place it would go. Nevertheless, we are watching the situation and praying for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, and for peace.

     
  26.  
    Stan, a Ukrainian in Canada

    emails: I grew up in eastern Ukraine and my first language is Russian and my parents never spoke Ukrainian. Despite that we never had any issues. I don't support the actions of the Russian military. According to relatives in Kharkiv, many people there don't support the actions of Russia either. However, in many instances government organisations, such as schools, force people to participate in pro-Russian demonstrations. Russia is executing a planned operation to sabotage Ukraine so they can regain the control they had for many years. The situation in Ukraine is very, very disturbing and upsetting.

     
  27.  
    Kateryna, in Kiev

    emails: We lived through the internal hell of the past three months. Our streets are covered with ashes, blood, tears and millions of flowers. Today, I am counting hours until 5am, before the Russian ultimatum comes to power. I do not know either I will wake up to war or we get a chance to keep living a normal life, like you! I have a great number of friends in Crimea and eastern regions, they are terrified! Russian troops entered the territory of our country. Our soldiers are being bribed to give up weapons and commit treason to the state by the Russian military authorities. We hope and pray that my country survives the invasion without victims.

     
  28.  
    01:56:

    The BBC's Barbara Plett Usher in Washington points out that the US State Department has mentioned targeted measures against Russia such as banning visas and freezing assets, but there is no timeframe yet.

     
  29.  
    02:05:

    Former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in prison in Russia, has offered to travel to Ukraine to try to help resolve the escalating conflict.

     
  30.  
    02:12:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin - who has made no public comments in recent days on the growing crisis - on Monday watched Russia's military exercises in the Western and Central military districts.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin watches military exercises in the Leningrad Region, north-west Russia. Photo: 3 March 2014
     
  31.  
    Olya, in Ukraine

    emails: I was born in Russia. I consider myself a Ukrainian because I have been living in Ukraine for a while now. I worry that Putin's invasion will separate me from my Russian relatives and friends, whom I love dearly. Putin's actions only prove that Russian government does not care about Russians in Crimea nor about Russians in Russia. Putin is claiming to protect Russians by putting them in great danger of death? How is that safe? Putin is protecting ethnic Russian in Crimea and arresting Russian citizens in Russia. How is that protection?

     
  32.  
    02:23:

    US President Barack Obama has discussed with national security advisers what steps Washington and its international partners can take to further isolate Russia, Reuters reports.

     
  33.  
    02:27:

    Ukraine's lawmaker Viktor Chumak has said 22 Ukrainian units in Crimea are still guarding their bases, Ukraine's Espreso TV reports.

     
  34.  
    02:34:

    US Secretary of State John Kerry is travelling to Kiev later today to try to find a diplomatic solution to the escalating crisis.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry US Secretary of State John Kerry departs Joint Base Andrews in Washington en route to Ukraine. Photo: 3 March 2014
     
  35.  
    02:43:

    More now on that two-hour meeting President Obama has held with his national security advisers. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlyn Hayden says the group discussed ways to "reinforce that the Russians still have an opportunity to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation". She added: "The president will continue to receive regular updates on the situation, and to remain in close contact with his foreign counterparts."

     
  36.  
    CNN's Ben Wedeman

    tweets: #Russia-US tensions will have knock-on effect in #Syria. Expect temperature to rise especially in southern Syria. Plans in works. #Jordan

     
  37.  
    02:56:

    Moscow intends to discuss the Ukraine crisis with the West on two key conditions, a source at the Russian foreign ministry tells Ria Novosti news agency. The source says the 21 February agreement - signed by ousted President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian opposition - must be implemented, and that all Ukrainian political forces must take part in negotiations.

     
  38.  
    02:57:

    We're approaching the reported 03:00 GMT deadline that Ukraine says its forces in Crimea have been given to surrender. Russia has strongly denied the claim. So far we've had no reports of any incidents.

     
  39.  
    03:12:

    Our Washington correspondent Barbara Plett Usher says several meetings on trade deals between the US and Russia have been cancelled, with reports that all moves to deepen trade and investment ties have been put on hold.

     
  40.  
    03:22:

    Dr Michael Slobodchikoff, political science lecturer at Troy University in the US, tells the BBC he believes President Putin may be willing to give up Crimea if there is a referendum on secession in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

     
  41.  
    03:27:

    Dr Michael Slobodchikoff also says that if there was an ultimatum delivered to Ukrainian troops in Crimea it probably came from more local authorities. "It doesn't make much sense for Russia to go in guns blazing and create a situation that's far worse than it is now," he says.

     
  42.  
    Simon Shuster, Time reporter in Crimea

    tweets: Just spotted 3 APCs [armoured personnel carriers] with Russian flags moving north from Sevastopol toward Simferopol. That's new.

     
  43.  
    03:36:

    The reported surrender deadline has passed (see 02:57 entry), but so far there have been no reports of violence. Crimea's ATR TV showed live pictures of relatives and family members standing in front of one of the blocked bases, where Ukraine's tactical aviation unit is located

     
  44.  
    03:40:

    In Washington, President Obama held a crisis meeting with his security advisers in the White House's Situation Room. The US hasn't made public any decision taken during the gathering.

    President Barack Obama chairs a meeting with security advisers. Photo: 3 March 2014
     
  45.  
    The BBC's Tim Willcox in Kiev

    tweets: Russian deadline - according to Kiev - for forces to surrender military bases in Crimea or face full out assault passes without incident

     
  46.  
    03:54:

    Ukraine's National Paralympic Committee is prepared to boycott the Paralympic Games in Sochi if Russia doesn't withdraw its troops from Ukraine, the committee's press service is quoted as saying by Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

     
  47.  
    04:02:

    A deputy commander at one of Ukraine's units in Crimea, named only as Major Lisovoy, tells local ATR TV that there were no attempts to storm the base. "We're all in high spirits, ready to defend our base. There was no official ultimatum, it was done indirectly via mobile phones. I want peace and stability and for Ukraine to be a united country."

     
  48.  
    04:15:

    Ukraine's Customs Service is reporting a "gathering of military machines" in the Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions just across the Russian border, according to Evhen Perebyinis, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

     
  49.  
    04:24:
    Ukrainian soldier and child at Belbek

    Don't miss our picture gallery on the Ukrainian crisis.

     
  50.  
    04:36:

    Just to recap: US Secretary of State John Kerry is on his way to Kiev after Monday's late-night talks in Washington hosted by President Obama. The State Department said he will "reaffirm the United States' strong support" for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

     
  51.  
    04:44:

    Anton Shekhovtsov, an ethnic Russian from Crimea now living in London, tells the BBC his family and friends in Crimea are living in fear. "Everybody is afraid of the war, everybody is afraid of the escalation of the conflict," he says. "People feel terrified and especially my friends. Some of them are trying to flee the area, to flee Crimea, to move to other, safer parts of Ukraine, to western Ukraine for example."

     
  52.  
    04:51:

    What is Russia's case for sending its troops into Crimea? Don't miss our analysis that sets out Moscow's claims.

     
  53.  
    The BBC's Steve Rosenberg

    tweets: Today's Vedomosti: ethnic Russians in Turkmenistan/Uzbek'n face far more discrimination than in Crimea. But Moscow in no rush to act there.

     
  54.  
    05:06:

    It's now past 07:00 in Ukraine, but there have been no reports of any attacks on Ukrainian army bases in Crimea. Earlier reports suggested Russian troops had given Ukrainian soldiers an ultimatum to surrender.

     
  55.  
    The BBC's Steve Rosenberg

    tweets: Rossiskaya Gazeta headline (on why Moscow doesn't fear G8 boycott over Crimea): "We're not going to swap millions of our own for 'Eight'"

     
  56.  
    05:19:

    The BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow says this morning's local newspapers voice concern about further economic ramifications for Russia if President Putin continues with his military advance into Ukraine. One newspaper describes yesterday's dramatic fall of Russian stocks as a "Black Monday".

     
  57.  
    The BBC's Steve Rosenberg

    tweets: 1968: Moscow claims Prague calls for Red Army to intervene. 2014: Moscow claims Yanukovych calls for Russian army to intervene.

     
  58.  
    05:33:

    The former US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, tells CNN that Russian claims of violence in Ukraine are "complete fantasy".

     
  59.  
    05:48:

    The BBC's Daniel Sandford in Sevastopol, Crimea, says fears that the Russians would launch an overnight attack on military bases that did not give up their weapons have proved unfounded.

     
  60.  
    05:55:

    The BBC's Daniel Sandford adds, however, that Ukrainian forces remain almost completely neutralised in Crimea. Ukrainians dare not open fire for fear of provoking a ferocious Russian reaction, he says.

     
  61.  
    06:04:

    Nadzhiye Femi, a Crimean journalist in Bakhchysarai, tells Ukraine's Espreso TV that life is quieter now and there are fewer cars on the streets. Some people are scared, but there's no mass evacuation of families. She adds that Crimean Tatars - some of whom remember the Stalinist deportations in the 1940s - feel that they are in danger.

     
  62.  
    06:14:

    Russian troops taking part in military exercises near the Ukrainian border are ordered by President Putin to return to their bases, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov is quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

     
  63.  
    06:16:

    Russian stock indexes rise on Tuesday, after falling steeply on Monday because of fears about the widening international crisis in Ukraine, Reuters reports.

     
  64.  
    06:21:

    More on the statement by Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov that troops taking part in military exercises across western Russia are to return to base. He says the manoeuvres had been "a success". Moscow denies that they were linked to events in Ukraine, Reuters reports.

     
  65.  
    06:22: The BBC's Kevin Bishop

    tweets: Quiet, cold and hazy day in Sevastopol. No sign of any ultimatum being enforced.

     
  66.  
    06:29:

    Ukrainian TV stations have remained "patriotic and defiant" as the ultimatum allegedly presented by the Russian Black See Fleet command to Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea expired early on Tuesday morning, BBC Monitoring reports. All the major channels are using the national flag on the right or left corners of the screen, accompanied by the phrase "One Country" - written in the Ukrainian and Russian languages.

     
  67.  
    06:35:

    The euro has jumped and hit a session high against the dollar on Tuesday after media reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered troops engaged in exercises this week to return to base, Reuters reports.

     
  68.  
    06:40:

    Pro-Russian activists form a human chain outside the entrance to the General Staff Headquarters of Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol, while unidentified gunmen stand in the background.

    Pro-Russian activists form a human chain outside an entrance to the General Staff Headquarters of Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol, while unidentified gunmen stand in the background
     
  69.  
    06:52:

    Western energy security also looms large behind any attempt to impose economic sanctions on Russia. the Daily Telegraph's Liam Halligan writes. Russia is the world's third-largest oil producer, he writes, and any hint that the flow of Russian crude might be interrupted would cause havoc on global markets. In recent days, as the sanctions rhetoric has cranked up, oil prices have spiked at $2-$3 a barrel. This can only harm Western crude importers such as the UK, he says

     
  70.  
    06:54:

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday afternoon in Madrid for talks on the ongoing Ukraine crisis, the BBC's Tom Burridge in Madrid reports.

     
  71.  
    06:59:

    It is not clear whether up to a 150,000 members of the Russian armed forces who have been involved in military exercises near the Ukrainian border - and now ordered back to base by President Putin - remain on a heightened state of alert, the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow reports.

     
  72.  
    07:11:

    Many people in Crimea think that the relentless build-up of thousands of Russian troops in the peninsula has gone fairly smoothly, the BBC's Mark Lowen in Sevastopol reports, with so far no shots fired and little to disturb the generally peaceful atmosphere.

     
  73.  
    07:27:

    Pro-Russian troops who control the Belbek air base in Crimea fire warning shots into the air as around 300 Ukrainian soldiers, who previously manned the airfield, demanded their jobs back, AP reports. The Russian troops warned that they would shoot the Ukrainians if they continued to march toward them.

     
  74.  
    07:33:

    Military personnel, believed to be Russian servicemen, march in the village of Perevalnoye near Simferopol in Crimea.

    Military personnel, believed to be Russian servicemen, march in the village of Perevalnoye near Simferopol in Crimea
     
  75.  
    07:40:

    International Paralympics Committee President Sir Philip Craven insists the governing body will "leave global politics to the politicians" amid growing fears of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, PA reports. The tense Crimea region lies only 473km north-west of Sochi - the host city for the Paralympics Winter Games - which are scheduled to get under way on Friday. Sir Philip has already arrived in south-west Russia to meet volunteers and organising committee President Dimitry Chernyshenko, PA says.

     
  76.  
    07:48:

    It is not clear whether President Putin's decision to order tens of thousands of Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine's border to return to base is an attempt by him to heed calls in the West to de-escalate the crisis, AP reports. It says that the exercises stoked fears that the Kremlin might use the troops to seize territory in pro-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine.

     
  77.  
    07:49: James in the UK

    emails: With Putin holding a very strong hand of oil and gas, it isn't too difficult to see that the UK government will not take any particularly strong measures to assist Ukraine in their resistance against the Russian invasion.

     
  78.  
    08:03:

    Vyacheslav Nikonov, a Member of Parliament in President Putin's United Russia party, defends Moscow's presence in the eastern region of Crimea, telling the BBC it has a right to be there under a treaty between Moscow and KIev. "Russia is entitled to have up to 25,000 troops there [but] I don't think there are more than 15,000," he said. "When after this so-called revolution the illegitimate government of Kiev sent the armed militias to capture the government building in the Crimea, I think it was pretty naive to expect Russia to stay aside."

     
  79.  
    08:09:

    The timing of an announcement by the Russian navy that it will add three new large landing ships next year in addition to the 19 already in service signals Moscow is flexing its muscles and is committed to building up its armed forces in coming years, Reuters reports. Russia's Black Sea Fleet has a base in Crimea.

     
  80.  
    08:09: Konnor Baskaran in London

    texts: I think that the Ukrainian forces should leave, and allow Russia to take control of the Crimea region without any dispute. Putin has high interests in the area, and rightfully so. What we don't want to see is a spread of Russian forces deeper into Ukrainian land. History tells us what could happen.

     
  81.  
    08:12:

    Russian armoured personnel carriers drive on the road from Sevastopol to Simferopol in Crimea.

    Russian armoured personnel carriers drive on the road from Sevastopol to Simferopol in Crimea.
     
  82.  
    08:28:

    Europe's biggest stockpiles of natural gas since at least 2009 are damping the threat of any potential disruptions in supplies from Ukraine, the main transit route of Russian fuel to consumers in the west, Bloomberg News reports. It says that the mildest weather since 2008 has reduced demand for the fuel used for heating and to generate electricity and sent prices to their lowest level in two years.

     
  83.  
    08:38:

    Former UK Ambassador to Russia Sir Andrew Wood tells the BBC that the Ukraine crisis could affect Russia internally. "First of all, there will be economic effects - whether or the the West does anything at all - which is going to spoil the investment climate," he said. "And, secondly, what Russia really needs to prosper is the reform of its law and government, which is genuinely answerable to its people and so on. "That's still less likely now than it was before."

     
  84.  
    08:44:

    Russia will reduce its economic dependency on the US if Washington agrees sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine, a Kremlin aide has said, warning that the American financial system faced a "crash" if this happened. "We would find a way not just to reduce our dependency on the United States to zero but to emerge from those sanctions with great benefits for ourselves," Kremlin economic aide Sergei Glazyev said. He added that Russia could stop using dollars for international transactions.

     
  85.  
    08:48:

    More from Kremlin aide Sergei Glazyev about the Russian response to any imposition of sanctions over Ukraine. "In the instance of sanctions being applied to stated institutions, we will have to declare the impossibility of returning those loans which were given to Russian institutions by US banks," he was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying.

     
  86.  
    08:54:

    Photos of the stand-off between Russian and Ukrainian forces in Belbek - near Sevastopol - have appeared on the Twitter account of Time Moscow correspondent Simon Shuster.

     
  87.  
    08:59:

    Some 90% of top police commanders in Ukraine have been sacked because they "discredited themselves" during the recent protests against deposed President Yanukovych, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says on his Facebook page (BBC Monitoring).

     
  88.  
    09:07:

    More on the stand-off at Belbek base - near Sevastopol - between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Israeli Haaretz writer Anshel Pfeffer says on his Twitter account that groups of pro-Russian Crimeans are coming to the base and trying evict Ukrainian soldiers.

     
  89.  
    09:20:

    Paralympic gold medal winner Tanni Grey-Thompson tells the BBC that she does not believe that Great Britain's team should boycott the Sochi games due to start on Friday against a backdrop of increasing political and military tensions between Moscow and Ukraine. "I generally don't think that boycotting works unless... every country chooses to do that - and we know that that won't happen," she said.

     
  90.  
    09:25:

    These Ukrainian forces are involved in a stand-off with Russian troops at the Belbek base near Sevastapol.

    Ukrainian forces at the Blbek base near Sevastopol in Crimea
     
  91.  
    09:30:

    No solution on the Ukraine crisis is in sight, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is quoted by AFP as saying after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

     
  92.  
    09:35:

    British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says that while military action is not an option, Russia will face a range of diplomatic and political and economic consequences if it carries on its current course in Ukraine. "There is no pre-determined limit on the kinds of measures we will look at, envisage and entertain in order to safeguard the territorial integrity of Ukraine," he said.

     
  93.  
    09:38: Mykhaylo Blahy in Ukraine

    emails: Russia is acting as if we are still living in Soviet times. Most Ukrainians have moved on. They do not believe the propaganda being dished out by Russian state media. It is important to collectively expose these lies and defend the Ukrainian people from this foreign incursion on their territory.

     
  94.  
    09:41:

    Hanna Herman, a former top aide of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, has questioned Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin's remarks that Mr Yanukovych had asked for Russian troops to be deployed in Ukraine. "It is necessary to check if this request exists. I'm finding it difficult to believe that Mr Yanukovych asked for foreign troops to be used against his own country, against his own people," Ms Herman told Interfax-Ukraine news agency (BBC monitoring)

     
  95.  
    09:47:

    "I had a difficult, long and very serious talk but it wasn't enough to say that a solution is in sight [to the Ukraine crisis]," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters after the meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov late on Monday. "I can't run up a flag to say that we are on the way to finding a solution and that Ukraine and Russia are about to start talking," AFP reported him as saying.

     
  96.  
    09:53:

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomes reports that Russian troops on military exercises in western Russia near the Ukrainian border have been reportedly ordered by President Putin to return to base, but he says that he has no official confirmation of the move, Reuters reports.

     
  97.  
    09:59:

    Ukrainian border guards are still in control of the eastern border with Russia, Ukrainian State Border Service spokesman Serhiy Astakhov tells the tells Interfax-Ukraine news agency. "The situation on the eastern stretch of the Ukrainian border is tense, but [Ukrainian] border guards are in control," he said, adding that there is no "visible build-up by the Russian military" along the border. The Ukrainian foreign ministry on Monday evening said that Russia was building up military hardware along Ukraine's border with Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

     
  98.  
    10:00:

    President Putin to make a statement on Ukraine, the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow tweets.

     
  99.  
    10:04:

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is to meet EU leaders Thursday in Brussels, EU President Herman Van Rompuy is reported by AFP to have announced.

     
  100.  
    10:13:

    Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta warns that the Ukraine crisis could be costly for Moscow. It says that aid to Crimea - such as pensions and salaries - in addition to the negative effects of sanctions imposed by the West mean that in the worst case scenario, it will cost $500m. The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper for its part says that the crisis could push the Russian economy towards recession.

     
  101.  
    10:14:

    From April, Gazprom will stop selling gas to Ukraine at a discounted price, Gazprom chief Aleksey Miller says (Interfax).

     
  102.  
    10:18:

    Does Russia have a legitimate claim to Ukraine? Read this analysis on the BBC website.

     
  103.  
    10:24:

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has held "difficult, long and serious" talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the Ukraine crisis.

    German
     
  104.  
    10:28:

    Veteran Euro MP Daniel Cohn-Bendit urges European governments to threaten a boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia over Moscow's actions in Crimea. "There has to be a response. The worst thing to do would be nothing at all," he tells France Inter radio.

     
  105.  
    10:31:

    Gazprom chief Alexei Miller - while announcing that Russia's top gas producer will remove a discount on gas prices for Ukraine from April - also says that his company could offer Ukraine a loan of $2-3bn to pay off the country's debt of more than $1.5bn after Ukraine told the state company it was unable to pay in full for gas deliveries in February, according to Interfax.

     
  106.  
    10:44:

    President Putin: the Ukrainian people wanted change but "illegal change" cannot be encouraged. (Reuters)

     
  107.  
    10:36:

    President Putin tells a news conference that events in Kiev amount to an anti-constitutional coup and armed seizure of power, but Russia will only use force as a last resort.

     
  108.  
    10:40:

    On 21 February, [deposed President] Yanukovych agreed to everything the opposition demanded, effectively surrendering power, but he stood no chance of re-election - President Putin says. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  109.  
    10:42:

    I understand people in Kiev's Maidan (Independence Square) who demand radical change - President Putin says. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  110.  
    10:46:

    President Putin: Ukraine's parliament "partially legitimate", but not other government agencies and particularly not acting President Turchynov. Even though [former President] Yanukovych has no power, he is still the legitimate president from the legal point of view, because he has never been impeached. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  111.  
    10:47:

    President Putin: No need to send in troops to Ukraine now, but the possibility of this remains. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  112.  
    10:48:

    President Putin: Deployment of Russian armed forces is the last resort. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  113.  
    10:50:

    President Putin: Neo-Nazis and anti-Semites are rampant in Ukraine and particularly in Kiev, people in eastern Russia are worried, and "we reserve the right to use all means available" to defend them if they ask us, but this is "an extreme measure." (BBC Monitoring)

     
  114.  
    10:53:

    President Putin: Russia reserves the right to use all means to protect Russians in Ukraine. (AP)

     
  115.  
    10:55:

    President Putin: Markets in Russia were "nervous" before the events in Ukraine because of the policy pursued by the US Federal Reserve, so latest market instability not directly related to Ukraine. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  116.  
    10:59:

    President Putin: "Our actions are often described by the West as not legitimate, but look at US operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. "Our actions are legitimate from the point of view of international law, because Ukraine's legitimate president asked us for help. "Defending these people is in our interests, this is a humanitarian mission, we do not want to 'enslave' anyone." (BBC Monitoring)

     
  117.  
    11:00:

    President Putin: "Those who think of imposing sanctions should think of [the] consequences, [because the] damage will be mutual. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  118.  
    11:02:

    President Putin: "There's no-one in Kiev for me to hold talks with, there's no legitimate president." (BBC Monitoring)

     
  119.  
    11:04:

    President Putin says he is not thinking of annexing Crimea, but people there should enjoy the right to self-determination. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  120.  
    11:05:

    President Putin: Armed groups who seized power in Crimea were "local forces of self defence", not Russian soldiers. (Reuters)

     
  121.  
    11:08:

    President Putin: "There is a point of view that snipers who shot demonstrators in Kiev were actually provocateurs from an opposition party. [Former President] Yanukovych assured me he did not order police to fire at protesters." (BBC Monitoring)

     
  122.  
    11:10:

    Speaking about the threat of sanctions President Putin says "all threats against Russia are counterproductive and harmful", adding that Russia was ready to host the G8 but if Western leaders did not want to come "they don't need to". (Reuters)

     
  123.  
    11:12:

    President Putin: Offers medical treatment to Ukrainian police injured in clashes and say that recalling the Russian ambassador from Washington is "an extreme measure". (BBC Monitoring)

     
  124.  
    11:14:

    President Putin: [Former President] Yanukovych has no political future, "and I have told this to him". "He would have been killed in Ukraine had we not helped him." (BBC Monitoring)

     
  125.  
    11:16:

    Asked if Russian forces took part in operations in Crimea, President Putin says: "No, they did not participate," adding: "There are lots of uniforms that look similar." (AFP)

     
  126.  
    11:18:

    President Putin: "Fully-fledged relations" with Ukraine can only be restored after a new president is elected. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  127.  
    11:19:

    President Putin: "I ordered the government to resume contacts with their counterparts in Ukrainian ministries [and] Russian PM Medvedev is "in contact" with Ukrainian counterpart Yatsenyuk. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  128.  
    11:24:

    President Putin: Russia will not recognise the outcome of upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine if the current "terror" continues. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  129.  
    11:24:

    President Putin: Ukraine should approve a new constitution through a referendum, but this is "none of our business", only Ukrainians can decide. (BBC Monitoring)

     
  130.  
    11:29:

    Asked by a journalist about a possible "compromise candidate" running in Ukraine's presidential elections, President Putin responds: "Personally, I can't even think of one." (BBC Monitoring)

     
  131.  
    11:40:

    Highlights from President Putin's news conference which has now ended:

    • Events in Kiev amount to an anti-constitutional coup
    • Former President Yanukovych has no political future
    • Russian forces have not taken part in operations in Crimea
    • Russia is not thinking of annexing Crimea
    • Threat of sanctions from the West is counter-productive
    • Russian actions in Ukraine are in accordance with international law
    • Russia will not recognise the outcome of upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine if the current "terror" continues
     
  132.  
    11:36:

    President Putin: Previous governments in Ukraine did not fight cronyism and corruption in the economy, which is why Ukrainians now want to see new faces in the government, but the change of government must be "constitutional and legitimate". (BBC Monitoring)

     
  133.  
    11:42:

    President Putin addresses a news conference outside Moscow.

    President Putin addresses a news conference outside Moscow
     
  134.  
    11:52:

    The BBC's Steven Rosenberg in Moscow says that the Russian president during his news conference described his country's actions in Ukraine as a "humanitarian mission". "All citizens of Ukraine, wherever they live, must have an equal right to participate in the life of the country and in deciding its future," the president said.

     
  135.  
    11:57:

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague will update MPs on Tuesday afternoon on the situation in Ukraine and the UK's response. (BBC Millbank)

     
  136.  
    12:00:

    The soldiers who took control of Crimea without firing a single shot are likely to be Russian special forces, airborne units and possibly commandos from the elite Spetsnaz force, London-based military experts have told the AFP news agency. Igor Sutyagin, a specialist on Russia at the Royal United Services Institute said the soldiers in unbadged uniforms who fanned out across Crimea were using kit only handled by elite divisions.

     
  137.  
    12:08:

    Ukrainian forces are now withdrawing from the Belbek air base near Sevastapol, the BBC's Mark Lowen tweets.

     
  138.  
    12:13: German Embassy, Ankara

    tweets: FM #Steinmeier on sanctions: If we don't see decisive steps till Thursday, then I think Europ.Council will take measures #Russia #Crimea 2/2

     
  139.  
    12:13: Matthew Fisher, Postmedia News of Canada

    tweets: Simferopol like Sevastopol. Quiet, strained talks between Russian & Ukr. forces. Russian offer is: defect or walk away. #Ukraine #Crimea

     
  140.  
    12:18:

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague tells parliament that the UK's options on how to respond to the crisis in Ukraine remain open in spite of a document photographed in the hands of an official which suggested that the government would not back trade sanctions against Russia. Mr Hague said he wanted to "make absolutely clear that anything that is written in one document carried by one official is not necessarily any guide to the decisions that will be made by Her Majesty's Government".

     
  141.  
    12:22:

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is reported by Reuters to have said that the US and EU do not support a consensus government and reforms in Ukraine that would include all sides. "We must have a dialogue and not exclude anyone," he said during a visit to Tunisia, speaking through a translator. "Our position is clear on this and won't change."

     
  142.  
    12:26: Students of Lviv Polytechnic University

    email: We are desperate about what is going on in our native country. The reasons behind this are information isolation of southern and eastern parts of Ukraine, lingering soviet ideology, wrong symbolism - monuments to Lenin, Kirov and others, streets bearing names of communists leaders. But first steps have been made and we do hope that democracy will win.

     
  143.  
    12:31:

    US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Kiev, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford tweets.

    John Kerry arriving in Kiev
     
  144.  
    12:36:

    Officials travelling with US Secretary of State John Kerry say that the US will offer $1bn to financially-stricken Ukraine to help lessen the impact on Ukrainians of proposed energy subsidy cuts, Reuters reports.

     
  145.  
    12:44:

    Washington is likely to take steps on sanctions against Russia "later in this week", a US official travelling with Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev tells the AFP news agency.

     
  146.  
    12:45: Sarovara Prem

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Was Yanukovych legally impeached or not? Will Supreme Court of Ukraine make a judgement? Judicial solution not militarily.

     
  147.  
    12:47:

    The US is sending technical advisers to help the authorities in Ukraine manage immediate pressures in financial markets and locate stolen assets, a White House official tells Reuters.

     
  148.  
    12:54:

    America is concentrating on meeting Ukraine's four most pressing needs, a US treasury statement says. These are:

    • Implementing critical economic reforms and cushioning their impact on vulnerable Ukrainians
    • Conducting free, fair and inclusive elections, with robust involvement by a strong and independent civil society and media
    • Combating corruption and recovering stolen assets
    • Withstanding "politically motivated trade actions" by Russia.
     
  149.  
    12:58:

    There is a risk that "deliberate provocation" could give rise to a dangerous incident in Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary William Hague warns.

     
  150.  
    13:01:

    A formal "wanted" notice for former Ukrainian Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko - who served under deposed President Yanukovych - is put up on the interior ministry website. He is described as "a person hiding from pre-trial investigation agencies".

     
  151.  
    13:07:

    "We want to very visibly embrace Ukraine," an official travelling with US Secretary of State John Kerry is quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying. "Part of that is through an IMF package, part of it will be through bilateral assistance but in conjunction with our partners to try to support Ukraine."

     
  152.  
    13:11:

    Russian gas exports to Europe through Ukraine have not been affected by political turmoil in Kiev, a spokesman for state-controlled Gazprom tells Reuters.

     
  153.  
    13:21:

    Turkey says it scrambled jets on Monday after Russian plane flew along Turkey's Black Sea coast - but stayed in international air space, Reuters news agency reports.

     
  154.  
    13:27:
    A Ukrainian man wearing camouflage uniform yawns as he asks for donations to support the Ukrainian military with the slogan on box reading "collecting money for Cossacks" needs", at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine on 4 March 2014.

    Back in Kiev's Independence Square, a man wearing a camouflage uniform yawns as he asks for donations to support the Ukrainian military. The slogan on the box reads "collecting money for Cossacks' needs".

     
  155.  
    13:34:

    The Russian and Ukrainian press have been painting a sombre image of the crisis in Crimea. Take a look at BBC Monitoring's press review to see how the crisis is being conveyed in both countries.

     
  156.  
    13:39:

    Russia has agreed to meet with representatives of Nato to discuss the crisis in Ukraine on Wednesday, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini says, quoted by Reuters. She was reportedly addressing a committee hearing in the Italian parliament.

     
  157.  
    Leonid P, Ukraine

    emails: I'm a Russian speaking Ukrainian from the east of Ukraine. My opinion is that Mr Putin has made a huge mistake by invading Crimea. It made most of the Ukrainians forget their internal disputes and get united facing a threat from outside. Many people that were against or indifferent towards joining Nato have changed their minds and have become Nato supporters.

     
  158.  
    13:44:

    A spokesman for Ukraine's national football team says their players - who come from all over the country - stand united, ahead of a friendly match against the USA on Wednesday in Cyprus. Alexander Glyvynskyy said the team was united "in its belief of indivisibility". The match was originally scheduled to take place in Ukraine's second city of Kharkiv, but was moved to Larnaca for security reasons.

     
  159.  
    13:50:
    Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Kiev, Ukraine, on 4 March 2014.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry greets officials as he arrives in Kiev for talks on Tuesday.

     
  160.  
    Guigan in London

    emails: No-one here seems to have taken a close look at the Ukrainian interim government and question why we are so keen to recognise a government largely made up of many individuals with questionable legitimacy and with far right backgrounds. Let us also consider that so far not a single shot has been fired in this Russian intervention, and no one has been harmed or killed. This is a far better track record than any recent western peacekeeping mission.

     
  161.  
    Sarah Rainsford, BBC News in Kiev

    tweets: John Kerry told me 'its very moving' as he visited shrine to those killed in Kiev; crowds turned out asking for outside help - eco and moral

    US Secretary of State John Kerry visiting a shrine in Kiev on 4 March 2014
     
  162.  
    14:00:

    A small pro-Russian demonstration has been held in Kharkiv called by the Movement for the Russian East, a BBC team in the city reports. The group's leader says it was in reaction to Putin's latest statements: "We do not see the need for the Russian troops in Kharkiv at the moment, but the danger of fascist attacks on us has not passed. And if they attack we rely on the Russian troops to protect us, not on Kiev authorities."

     
  163.  
    14:05:

    The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is preparing to deploy human rights monitors to the Ukraine, its secretary general, Lamberto Zannier, tells the BBC. "We have now a plan more or less in place but of course we need a mandate that has to be approved by participating states including Russia."

     
  164.  
    Tetyana Aldave

    tweets: #Russia's #Putin invasion of #Crimea creates opposite effect of #Putin desire. It is uniting all ethnic groups in #Ukraine against #Russia

     
  165.  
    14:15:

    Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen came up with the idea of a special meeting on Wednesday between the alliance and Russia, who has agreed to join the talks. Mr Rasmussen says Russia's military intervention in Ukraine is a violation of the UN Charter and threatens peace and security in Europe. It has not yet been revealed where the talks will take place.

     
  166.  
    14:20:
    Ukrainian servicemen look on from inside a military post in the Crimean city of Kerch on 4 March 2014.

    Ukrainian servicemen stand tense poised outside a military post in the city of Kerch, eastern Crimea.

     
  167.  
    Channel 4's Lindsey Hilsum

    tweets: Suddenly masked paramilitaries turned up at #Belbek airforce base #Crimea. Said they were from #Sevastopol

    Belbek base, Ukraine
     
  168.  
    14:28:

    How does Ukraine's army stack up against Russia's? As tensions mount in and around Crimea, BBC News compares the military strengths of the two countries, in a 60 second video: Ukraine v Russia militaries

     
  169.  
    14:35:

    In an editorial for CNN, Ulrich Speck of the Carnegie Europe think thank says President Putin is trying to create "some kind of "Soviet Union lite". He writes: "What's at stake in the conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine is not just the future of Crimea, it's the future of international order."

     
  170.  
    14:38:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier denied that troops surrounding bases in Crimea were Russian, instead he said they were "pro-Russian self-defence forces". But the BBC's Mark Lowen and his team managed to speak to one of the heavily armed soldiers blockading the military base in the town of Bakhchisarai, central Crimea, yesterday, who said he was a Russian soldier "usually based in Sevastopol".

     
  171.  
    14:39:

    Asked whether he thought it was right that Russian soldiers were barricading troops of the Ukrainian army in sovereign military bases of the Republic of Ukraine, the soldier said: "If you ask me as a person, then no it's not right. But I'm following orders."

     
  172.  
    14:44:
    Pro-Russian supporters stand in line outside the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol on 4 March 2014.

    Pro-Russian supporters gather outside the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy in Sevastopol. Earlier there were reports they had been trying to evict Ukrainian soldiers from the premises.

     
  173.  
    14:47:

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has arrived in the Spanish capital, Madrid, for talks with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

     
  174.  
    Gabriel Gatehouse, BBC News, Belbek airforce base

    tweets: Potential cost of #Crimea crisis: Ukrainian servicemen & families fear losing pensions, homes if they end up living in a different country.

     
  175.  
    Liliya, Kharkov, Ukraine

    emails: I like my country. I like Russia, too. Many of my relatives and friends live in Russia. I love them. I have been speaking Russian from childhood to this day. My eldest son is in a Russian-language school. But I'm totally against joining Russia and especially against the invasion. I like Russia but I do not like Putin. Today the fate of Ukraine and Ukrainians and the whole world is in the hands of the international community. Impunity will generate more and more offence.

     
  176.  
    14:55:

    US Secretary of State John Kerry has addressed crowds at a shrine created to commemorate those killed in the anti-government protests in Kiev last month. "We are going to help you. We are helping you. President Obama is planning for more assistance," he said, speaking from Independence Square.

     
  177.  
    15:00:

    Russian navy ships have blocked off the Kerch Strait which separates Ukraine's Crimea region and Russia, according to the Ukrainian border guard service as quoted by Reuters.

     
  178.  
    15:03:
    Map of Crimea showing key locations

    A map showing key locations in Crimea, including the Kerch Strait that runs between eastern Crimea and Russia.

     
  179.  
    15:07:

    Border guard official Pavel Shishurin told reporters the Kerch Strait was blocked "from the north and from the south," Reuters reports.

     
  180.  
    15:10:

    The European Union might help Ukraine pay the $2bn owed to Russian gas giant Gazprom, AFP quotes EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger as saying. It will come as part of the European Commission's aid package for Ukraine due to be adopted on Wednesday, he adds. It follows Gazprom's decision to remove a discount on gas prices for Ukraine from April.

     
  181.  
    Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News
    Ukrainian troops play football at Belbek military base on 4 March 2013

    tweets: Quite possibly my best #dogsofwar photo so far. Playing football with #Ukrainian troops at #Belbek despite siege.

     
  182.  
    15:20:

    EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger tells reporters the European Commission is not worried the crisis will cause a natural gas supply shortage in western Europe. The EU has enough reserves to cope with any short-term disruption, he adds, but the situation would become difficult if Ukraine were to split up - Reuters.

     
  183.  
    15:26:
    US Secretary of State John Kerry (C), Oleksandr Turchynov, Parliament Speaker and Ukraine's interim President (L) and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk shake hands during their talks in Kiev on March 4, 2014.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry (centre) has held talks with Ukraine's new interim government in Kiev, including acting President Oleksandr Turchynov (left) and acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (right)

     
  184.  
    15:32:

    Latvia says it will impose travel restrictions and freeze the assets of Ukrainians who have violated human rights and are involved in corruption, according to its foreign ministry. Travel restrictions will be imposed on 18 officials from the administration of ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich, who is also expected to be on the blacklist - Reuters.

     
  185.  
    15:38:
    Russian solders watch Ukrainian servicemen play football at Belbek airport on 4 March 2014

    Russian soldiers watch on as Ukrainian servicemen play football at Belbek air base near Sevastapol.

     
  186.  
    15:43:

    High-level contacts between Ukraine and Russia have begun, says Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, quoted by Reuters. "Consultations have started at the level of ministers," he told reporters, without going into detail.

     
  187.  
    15:55:

    CNN presenters Christiane Amanpour and Wolf Blitzer got embroiled in an on-air spat over CNN's coverage of the Ukraine crisis on Monday. Ms Amanpour took exception to Mr Blitzer's repetition of a quote by the Russian ambassador to the UN, who had called pro-European Ukrainians "anti-Semites and fascists". You can watch Christiane Amanpour's reaction here.

     
  188.  
    15:57:

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the threat of sanctions against Moscow are counter-productive, speaking earlier at a news conference with his Tunisian counterpart Mongi Hamed. "We have always opposed unilateral sanctions; they have never led to anything good," Mr Lavrov said, quoted by Interfax news agency - via BBC Monitoring.

     
  189.  
    Jonathan Twigg, BBC News in Kiev
    People attend prayer service in Kiev's Independence Square on 4 March 2014

    tweets: Night falls over #Maidan. Prayer service underway. The green lasers on stage slice through the fog. #Ukraine #Kiev

     
  190.  
    16:02:

    If you missed Russian President Vladimir Putin's press conference earlier today, in which he described recent events in Ukraine as an "unconstitutional coup", you can watch a clip of it here.

     
  191.  
    16:06:

    "This guy is hell bent on restoring the Russian empire," US Senator John McCain tells BBC World TV, referring to Russian President Putin's recent comments on the Ukraine crisis. There is no military option in Ukraine right now and President Putin knows this, he adds.

     
  192.  
    Margarita Solntseva, St. Petersburg, Russia

    emails: I am a citizen of Russia, but a half of my family lives in Ukraine and my grandmother lives right next to the border with Ukraine. So, I'm very afraid of the situation getting out of control. There are thousands of families being separated between these two countries and it must be a common fear. The actions of the Russian president seem to be not exactly wise and they certainly may cause an indignation of the Ukranian people, but I'm praying for the peoples of both our fraternal countries never let the war and bloodshed happen.

     
  193.  
    16:12:

    Turkey's Anatolia Agency reports two Russian warships crossed the Bosporus Strait heading towards the Black Sea, possibly en route to Crimea. Earlier, the Turkish military said it had scrambled eight F-16 jets on Monday after a Russian plane was detected flying parallel to its Black Sea coast, AFP reports.

     
  194.  
    16:18:
    People take part in a rally in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, on 4 March 2014, in support of ethnic Russians in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

    People take part in a rally in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don in support of ethnic Russians in the Crimea and eastern parts of Ukraine. Some of the posters read: "No to Fascism in Ukraine," "We are together with Ukraine," "Don't betray Crimea and Russians".

     
  195.  
    16:27:

    US Secretary of State John Kerry is giving a press conference now in Kiev.

     
  196.  
    16:30:

    "Deeply moving," US Secretary of State John Kerry said, to describe the scene at Independence Square in Kiev. He is addressing reporters at a press conference in the Ukrainian capital.

     
  197.  
    16:30:

    "These brave Ukrainians took to the streets to stand against tyranny and demand democracy, but instead they were met with snipers and picked off one after another," John Kerry says.

     
  198.  
    16:31:

    "Today in another part of this country we are in a new phase of this struggle for freedom. The US reaffirms its commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity. We condemn Russia's act of aggression," said Mr Kerry.

     
  199.  
    16:33:

    John Kerry says "a great transformation is taking place in Ukraine and the US will stand with the Ukrainian people".

     
  200.  
    16:34:

    Russia is "ignoring the reality" that the Ukrainian parliament overwhelmingly approved members of the new government - including members of ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych's own party, Mr Kerry says.

     
  201.  
    16:34:

    Mr Kerry notes there has been "no surge in crime, no surge in looting" in the wake of the political upheaval in Ukraine.

     
  202.  
    16:37:

    If Russia wants to help support ethnic Russians, we (the US) would support them, but Russia could also work with the legitimate government of Ukraine in doing so, Mr Kerry says.

     
  203.  
    16:39:

    "I come here today at the instruction of President Obama to make clear the US would prefer to see this de-escalate the crisis managed through structures of international institutions in order to deal with this kind of crisis. But if Russia does not choose this option, to work with the Ukrainian government, then our partners will have absolutely no choice but to join us to continue to expand the steps of recent days in order to isolate Russia diplomatically, politically and economically."

     
  204.  
    16:42:

    "This is the 21st century and we should not see nations step backwards to behave in 19th or 20th century fashion. There are ways to resolve these differences," Mr Kerry says. There are a set of options available to Russia, he continues. "We invite Russia to engage directly with the Ukrainian government."

     
  205.  
    16:44:

    "The US will stand by the Ukrainian people as they build the strong sovereign country that they deserve," the US secretary of state says as he concludes his press conference.

     
  206.  
    16:47:

    John Kerry laughed incredulously in response to a question about President Putin's earlier denial that Russian troops had been deployed to Crimea.

     
  207.  
    Denys, Lviv

    emails: I am a Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizen in Western Ukraine. There are no problems with other, 90% Ukrainian-speaking citizens in my region or any other region of my country. My father is a citizen of the Russian Federation and he provides a private business and lives in Ukraine without any problems. We don`t want to be saved by Putin, we feel great living in Lviv.

     
  208.  
    16:47:

    "Not a single piece of credible evidence supports Russia's claims," of the illegitimacy of the new administration in Kiev, the US secretary of state says. "We are not seeking confrontation," he adds.

     
  209.  
    Svetlana, originally from Mykolaib, southern Ukraine

    emails: I am as shocked as everyone else by our Russian neighbours' behaviour and unhelpful approach to the Ukrainian crisis! Ukraine is my motherland, Russian language is my native language. Ukraine is the country I was born in, it is the country where I got my education from, where my Mum and my friends still live. I don't support Russian government behaviour at all! If they would like to help us - they have to stay away. We don't need their help to resolve our internal problems. We would like to build a new country with no corruption.

     
  210.  
    Nikolay, Russia

    emails: I don't belong to any kind of fans or supporters of Vladimir Putin, but I find his position on the political and social unrest in Ukraine to be right, honourable and fully justified. The coverage of the Ukrainian crisis on BBC, CNN, Euronews and other Western channels was clearly biased and distorted from the very beginning. The governments of USA, UK and many other western countries are using double standards and ignore the opinion of those who are not agree with their own views.

     
  211.  
    16:50:

    John Kerry has described meeting Ukrainians in the streets of Kiev today: "I didn't see anyone who was threatened... except for a possible threat from Russia." He reiterates that now is the time of discussion and negotiation, and not confrontation.

     
  212.  
    I Dubrovski, St Petersburg, Russia

    emails: 'Divide and rule' politics implemented by the US and company is poisonous. Why can't Putin do the same as Bush or Obama can do? Sure, we will find ways to not fight with our neighbours. Please, hysterics not needed.

     
  213.  
    Oleksiy, Kiev, Ukraine

    emails: Putin has reduced himself from a world leader to a spokesperson for Yanukovych.

     
  214.  
    Artem Viligura, Kiev, Ukraine

    emails: Mr Putin showed that Russia is not a friend to Ukraine. Here in Ukraine, even in its eastern part most people don't believe his statements. IMHO the only reasons why he stopped the invasion are the fault of the rouble, possible sanctions and preparation activities conducted by the Ukraine military.

     
  215.  
    Svitlana, Odessa, Ukraine

    emails: I am extremely disappointed at the way the Western world is treating this crisis and instead of finding a solution with Russia to keep Ukraine united everyone treats the new government as legitimately elected, which it was not.

     
  216.  
    16:55:

    Ukrainian marines look at a Russian warship off Sevastopol.

    Ukrainian marines look at a Russian warship off Sevastopol, Crimea, 4 March
     
  217.  
    16:56:

    Russian servicemen have forced Ukrainian border guards at the Krym border checkpoint in eastern Crimea to lie on the ground at gunpoint, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reports, quoting a Ukrainian border service source - via BBC Monitoring.

     
  218.  
    Sergey, Kiev

    emails: Putin talks about "chaos" and "anarchy", while hundreds of international journalists in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities deny this. Does he really think, that his propaganda will succeed in the age of live-streaming and social media? He indeed "lives in a different world" and has lost a sense of "reality". And the journalists who interviewed him were afraid to ask real questions. The West had better realise that Putin cannot be predictable anymore. Common sense is not an option here.

     
  219.  
    16:57:

    Russian troops have been breaking into the premises of an air defence unit outside of outside Yevpatoria in western Crimea, Interfax reports. The unit's spokesperson was quoted by the agency as saying they had tried to block the Russian troops but about 150 of them had "crushed the defence and broken into the territory of our unit". Via BBC Monitoring.

     
  220.  
    Dmytro Popov, Kharkiv, Ukraine

    emails: When we know that Putin will defend us from Ukrainian nationalists we sleep much better here. Unfortunately, after the opposition came to power supported by Maidan armed radicals, our cities went to havoc. A government building in my city of Kharkov was occupied by armed Maidan fighters. They also vandalised a monument in our city. The police just stand still, not to be accused of fighting "peaceful" protesters. So simple people like me had to fight these radicals and liberate our city. Yes, we were worried about revenge.

     
  221.  
    Christian Ragosta

    tweets: Wasn't the UN specifically created to stop countries like Russia from using military force to take over other nation states?

     
  222.  
    Hesiod Theogeny

    tweets: Key to understanding Ukraine: the West can inflict massive economic pain on Russia without firing a shot. Putin is starting to realise this

     
  223.  
    John Holden, Bonn, Germany

    emails: Russia's main aim is to secure access to the Mediterranean via the port of Sevastopol. Therefore a naval blockade should be put in place to make Russia think twice about further expansion into Ukraine. At the same time Russia should be barred from the financial markets in the West. The West cannot seem to be weak on this issue.

     
  224.  
    Kevin Peters

    tweets: Unless the West intends to place squaddies in harm's way in the Ukraine, then the rest is gesture politics.

     
  225.  
    Norman Spector

    tweets: I do wish there was less of "I was right, you were wrong" from pundits commenting in crisis situations such as Ukraine

     
  226.  
    17:03:

    Masked, pro-Russian soldiers guard Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalne, southern Crimea.

    Pro-Russian soldiers guard Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalne on 4 March 2014
     
  227.  
    Ekaterina, Sevastopol

    emails: Crimea was added to the Ukrainian territories only 60 years ago. Before that it was the territory of the Russian Federation. All these years Kiev received a lot of money for the Sevastopol base from Russia. However for the last 20 years not a single school, not a single kindergarten, has been built in the city, the roads are terrible.

     
  228.  
    Viktoriya Kurovets

    emails: To all the people who are not Ukrainians or not living in Ukraine - could you please keep your opinions about the legitimacy of the new government and what is better for Ukraine to yourself? You don't know how it is to feel that you have no protection of basic human rights, no feeling of security- that is how I felt every time I visited my home country for a long time! So unless you are actually doing something to help the situation or praying for the peace, please don't offend the Ukrainian nation with pro-dictatorship/-Putin comments unless this is your aim. And thank you all who understand and supports!

     
  229.  
    17:06:

    US President Barack Obama has also been speaking about Putin's reason for sending troops in to Crimea. He said it was not a sign of strength but a signal that neighbouring countries have deep concerns about Russian "meddling". This, he told reporters, would push states away from Moscow.

     
  230.  
    Steven Nelson

    tweets: the US supported self-determination for the people of Kosovo, East Timor, Taiwan, South Sudan. Why not Crimea?

     
  231.  
    Citizen of Sevastopol

    emails: To Students of Lvov university. There is NO lack of information in the East or South of Ukraine. The internet is a big place. Literally ripping up Kiev and toppling pro-Soviet monuments is NOT "democracy". It is thuggery plus lack of respect towards Eastern and Southern parts of Ukraine. It is for this reason that Ukraine will NEVER be united. Your idea of "democracy" has now almost certainly permanently taken Crimea away from Ukrainian rule and into Russian. From all that I have seen and heard in this three-month "protest", I'm glad I will be under Russia's sphere of influence and not yours.

     
  232.  
    17:09:
    US President Barack Obama comments on the situation in Ukraine following a tour of a classroom at Powell Elementary School in Washington, DC, on 4 March 2014.

    President Obama told reporters that President Putin's rationale for his incursion into Crimea was not "fooling anybody," speaking earlier during a tour of an elementary school in Washington DC.

     
  233.  
    17:15:

    A chief rabbi in Ukraine, Yaakov Dov Bleich, has accused Russia of staging anti-Semitic "provocations" in Crimea in order to justify its invasion of Ukraine, the Jewish Telegraphic News Agency reports. "Things may be done by Russians dressing up as Ukrainian nationalists," he said, comparing it to the behaviour of the Nazis prior to the invasion of Austria in 1938.

     
  234.  
    Karl Elmqvistovic, London

    emails: I am a young Ukrainian national studying in London. My family live in Crimea and are gravely concerned by the media's false portrayal of our region as pro-Russian. We despair that the global community will not protect us. Long live a united Ukraine!

     
  235.  
    17:20:

    A pro-Russian figure in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk has said that he may ask Russia to deploy peacekeepers in the region to maintain order there. The Kiev-based 5 Kanal TV has shown Pavlo Hubarev, the self-styled "people's governor" of the Donetsk region, saying that "if a threat emerges to civilians...I cannot rule out the possibility of adopting a request to the Russian authorities for the deployment of a military peacekeeping contingent" - via BBC Monitoring.

     
  236.  
    17:24:

    The new interim Ukrainian authorities confirm that observers from the pan-European security body, the OSCE, have been deployed to Ukraine in an attempt to diffuse the military standoff with Russian forces. "An OSCE mission has arrived in Kiev which will go to the Crimean peninsula to monitor the situation," Ukraine's national security chief, Andriy Paruby, told reporters in Kiev, quoted by Reuters.

     
  237.  
    Sarah Rainsford, BBC News in Kiev

    tweets: John Kerry speech v passionate; strong rhetoric. Accused Rsa of 'falsehood+intimidation' but no new sanctions anno.

     
  238.  
    17:31:
    A Ukrainian supporter takes part in a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, Ontario, on 4 March 2014.

    Demonstrations have taken place outside the Russian embassy in the Canadian capital of Ottawa today, with supporters of the new Ukrainian government calling on President Putin to "get out of Ukraine".

     
  239.  
    Pauls Zakis, Riga, Latvia

    emails: As a Latvian and citizen of Riga where our city population is one million people and half of which are Russian, my family and I can only wonder if Putin could target another ex-Soviet state like us too? Would be madness but Putin has perhaps already shown us a glimpse of his perception of a new map. Worrying.

     
  240.  
    Yemi Agbayewa, London

    emails: Russia has done what it felt right in defence of it's interest. Could you imagine Russia supporting an uprising in Mexico, would US feel unperturbed?

     
  241.  
    17:43:
    Russian policeman detains an activist as he holds a poster reading "Hands off Ukraine!" during a protest rally, in front of the Defence Ministry in Moscow on 4 March 2014.

    A Russian policeman detains an activist during an unsanctioned protest rally against the recent developments in Russian-Ukrainian relations, in front of Russian Ministry of Defence in Moscow. The poster reads: "Hands off Ukraine."

     
  242.  
    17:46:

    Ukraine's telecommunications system has come under attack with equipment installed in Crimea used to interfere with the mobile phones of members of parliament, Ukrainian security chief Valentyn Nalivaichenko says, quoted by Reuters. Some internet and telephone services have been affected, he adds, with legislators specifically targeted. Telecoms firm Ukrtelecom has confirmed that some of its facilities in Crimea were raided on Friday, Reuters adds.

     
  243.  
    17:49:

    Russia would retaliate if the US imposed sanctions over its actions in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman says. "We will have to respond," says Alexander Lukashevich. "As always in such situations, provoked by rash and irresponsible actions by Washington, we stress: This is not our choice." - Reuters.

     
  244.  
    17:55:
    Valves of gas pipe-line are seen not far from Kiev on on 4 March 2014.

    View showing valves from a gas pipeline at a petrol station near Kiev. Earlier, the EU said it might help Ukraine to pay off the $2bn debt it owes to Russian gas giant Gazprom.

     
  245.  
    Vitaly, New Jersey, USA

    emails: I was born in Western Ukraine, lived in Russia and travelled all over Ukraine. I'm not taking any side in this conflict. This isn't the 1990s, no weak Gorbachev nor drunk Yeltsin and Russia won't let a Serbia drama be played at their doorstep. US foreign policy reached its weakest point in a decade under the Obama administration and the US doesn't lead the western world anymore. Economic sanctions against Russia aren't going to make the expected effect but increase anti-American hysteria. Nobody needs another war in Europe. If Eastern Ukraine wants to be with Russia so be it. Western Ukraine wants to be with Europe, let them go.

     
  246.  
    18:02:

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says she has had "useful talks" over the Ukraine crisis with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting in Madrid today. Earlier, Mr Lavrov told a news conference the treat of sanctions was "counter-productive".

     
  247.  
    18:06:

    With the escalating crisis in Crimea showing no signs of abating, the BBC takes a look at what possible justification Russia has, if any, for sending troops into Crimea: Ukraine crisis: Does Russia have a case?

     
  248.  
    18:12:

    BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson, who is in Sevastopol, says Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be "putting his foot on the brake rather than the accelerator" in Ukraine's Crimea. But, he adds, there has been no reference he is preparing to move out of Crimea.

     
  249.  
    18:16:

    The BBC's John Simpson continues: "It reminds me of 2008, when it looked like war with Georgia but it didn't really happen in a full-scale way. Everyone was very relieved and Putin tiptoed away with two chunks of border territory. I suspect he is trying to do this again...but we may have avoided any kind of shooting this time."

     
  250.  
    Aleks, London

    emails: Me and my wife are living in London now but have a lot of relatives in Luhansk region in Ukraine. We are very worried for them because they are concerned that criminal-nationalist gangs from western Ukraine are trying to destroy their properties and cars. They are very scared for their life there. Many of them want to migrate to Russia, but they lived all their life there, it is horrible to hear.

     
  251.  
    18:20:
    US Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a press conference held at the US Embassy in Kiev on on 4 March 2014.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia was looking for a "pretext" to invade Ukraine after taking de-facto control of Crimea.

     
  252.  
    18:25:

    There is no question the noose is now tightening around those who refuse to submit to the new authority in Crimea and it is getting ever more hostile, writes the BBC's Christian Fraser in Sevastapol. You can read more from Christian here: Ukraine resistance proves problem for Russia

     
  253.  
    18:28:

    The EU have reached a preliminary agreement to freeze the assets of 18 Ukrainians, at Kiev's request, after billions in public funds went missing, Reuters reports. The decision still needs to be finalised and the individuals have yet to be named.

     
  254.  
    18:35:
    Ukraine's players practice during a training session in Ayia Napa village in Cyprus on 4 March 2014.

    Ukraine's national football team train ahead of a friendly match against the USA in Cyprus on Wednesday. A spokesman for the team earlier said the players, who hail from all over the country, stand united despite the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

     
  255.  
    18:38:

    The US is sending a team of experts to help Ukraine search for missing public funds said to have been stolen by the ousted government of Viktor Yanukovych, a White House statement says.

     
  256.  
    Angelina, London

    emails: I am a Russian student living in the UK for the past four years. I come from Rostov-on-Don which is right on the border with Ukraine and have been to Crimea many times. It is fair enough that what is going on inside Russia is my burden to bear, the injustice and crime of all kinds is down to me and my people to resolve. However, being punished by the international community for the decisions of the president who I have never voted for, whose regime already took away my rights inside Russia is not fair. The past weekend there were protests in Russia against any armed conflicts with Ukraine, but I haven't heard either BBC or Sky mentioning that, nor have they mentioned that only in Moscow 300 people were arrested for participating in those peaceful protests. Here I am, not supporting my own government and in danger to speak up against it, damned by my fellow Ukrainians and rejected by the democracies that preach and practice human rights.

     
  257.  
    Stephen Harper, Canadian prime minister
    AFP

    tweets: Ukrainian flag being proudly flown on Parliament Hill to demonstrate our solidarity w/ people of #Ukraine

     
  258.  
    18:49:

    Ukraine is stepping up its protection of nuclear power plants across the country because of "a grave threat to the security," the country's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says, according to Reuters.

     
  259.  
    18:53:

    "Illegal actions of the Russian armed forces on Ukrainian territory and the threat of use of force amount to a grave threat to security of Ukraine with its potential consequences for its nuclear power infrastructure," Ukraine's ambassador to the IAEA, Ihor Prokopchuk, writes in a letter circulated to IAEA delegates in Vienna today and obtained by Reuters.

     
  260.  
    18:59:
    Members of a so-called Maidan self-defence unit march as they carry a coffin near a barricade in the centre of Kiev on 4 March 2014.

    Members of a so-called Maidan self-defence unit continue to bury demonstrators killed in anti-government protests last month in Kiev's Independence Square.

     
  261.  
    19:12:

    Reports say Russia has successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile from the southern Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea.

     
  262.  
    19:17:

    Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt will visit Ukraine on Wednesday to meet the country's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. "We know each other rather well and have been in contact in the past few weeks," Mr Bildt told Swedish media.

     
  263.  
    19:22:

    The dummy warhead of a ballistic missile fired by Russia on Tuesday evening has hit its target in Kazakhstan, the Russian defence ministry is quoted as saying.

     
  264.  
    19:32:
    Missile in Moscow (28 February 2014)

    This photo taken in Moscow on 28 February shows the same type of missile which Russia purportedly fired from a base in the Astrakhan region tonight.

     
  265.  
    19:34:

    The launch site, Kapustin Yar, is near the Volga River about 450km (280 miles) east of the Ukrainian border.

     
  266.  
    Steve Rosenberg BBC News, Moscow

    tweets: Russia test-fires Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Now, is that a response to all this talk of sanctions...?

     
  267.  
    19:42:

    A crew of a Ukrainian navy command ship has fought off an attempted takeover of the vessel by armed men, Ukraine's Interfax news agency reports.

     
  268.  
    19:45:

    The armed men approached the Slavutich vessel in a tug boat, but failed in their attempt to seize the ship, Ukrainian navy spokesman Vitaliy Zvyahintsev was quoted as saying.

     
  269.  
    Pramod Singh, Odessa, Ukraine

    emails: I support Mr Putin for the action he has taken. Here in my city, Odessa, most of the population is in support of Russia. And I feel that Ukraine must set itself free from the pro-West illegitimate government in Kiev.

     
  270.  
    19:47:

    Artyom Liss, from the BBC Russian service, says the Russians test-fire missiles quite frequently. But he also explains that the latest test will put more pressure on the Americans.

     
  271.  
    19:48:

    News of Tuesday's missile test came after the US accused Russian forces of an "act of aggression" in Crimea.

     
  272.  
    19:51: Breaking News

    The Russian military says it has launched a Topol RS-12M missile from its Kapustin Yar test range near the Caspian Sea to the Sary Shagan range in Kazakhstan.

     
  273.  
    19:56:

    A US defence official tells the AFP news agency Washington was informed that Russia would test a missile.

     
  274.  
    Richard Galpin BBC News, Moscow

    tweets: #Russia tests intercontinental ballistic missile after John Kerry sharply criticised #putin over #ukraine. Coincidence?

     
  275.  
    20:02:

    As Russia flexes its muscles over Ukraine, what options has the West got? Would the US consider using military force? Here's a round-up of what's on the table.

     
  276.  
    Steve Rosenberg BBC News, Moscow

    tweets: Reports suggest the ICBM test-firing was planned before tension in Crimea. But what timing...

     
  277.  
    20:12:

    A TV presenter working for the Kremlin-funded broadcaster Russia Today earlier denounced her country's "military intervention" in Ukraine as "wrong".

    "Just because I work here doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence," Abby Martin declared on-air. Watch what else she had to say.

     
  278.  
    20:16:
    A girl plays with a balloon near an armed man, believed to be Russian serviceman, near the gates of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol, 4 March 2014.

    Unaware of the unfolding events in Ukraine, a girl plays with a balloon near an armed man, believed to be Russian serviceman, outside a Ukrainian military unit in the Crimean village of Perevalnoye

     
  279.  
    Martin Lubianka, Bristol

    emails: My wife is Ukrainian with all her family and friends in Odessa. Most of the population there is not in support of Russia. In fact it is strongly against it. Ukraine must set itself free from propaganda.

     
  280.  
    20:24:

    More than 1,000 demonstrators took the streets of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, today, Reuters reports. They were carrying Ukrainian flags and chanting slogans such as "I am Russia, I don't need protection".

     
  281.  
    20:26:

    According to Reuters, it is the first time the demonstrators have outnumbered the pro-Russia supporters who have laid siege to some government buildings in the city since Monday, Reuters reports.

     
  282.  
    Peter, American living in St Petersburg, Russia

    emails: I have been following both Russian and American news like a hawk. While both sides are steaming up the propaganda I have found that the US media is completely out of bounds. There is no pretext to report news, only to sway public opinion.

     
  283.  
    20:30:

    Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, tells the BBC that Russia has not invaded Crimea. "Well I think that there is no invasion. The Russian troops have not moved on the territory of Ukraine."

     
  284.  
    20:32:

    Mr Pushkov continues: "The troops that are in Crimea are the troops that we have there on the Russian naval base in Sevastopol. There are several thousand people there of troops, and so there is no need to move additional troops."

     
  285.  
    Nick, Moscow, Russia

    emails: Businessmen are becoming more worried about Mr Putin's actions as they are unpredictable and destructive. Even those who used to support him might look at other candidates in 2016. Most of the elite is afraid because they have families and money abroad.

     
  286.  
    20:36:

    A US official, speaking anonymously to Reuters, says Washington received prior notification of Russia's missile test plans, which pre-dated Russia's military movements in Crimea.

    This comes in line with Moscow's commitments under the nuclear arms treaty between Russia and the USA, the official adds.

     
  287.  
    20:39:
    Pro-Russian activists stage a rally in front of the regional state administration building in the eastern industrial city of Donetsk on 4 March 2014.

    Pro-Russian activists rallied in front of a regional state administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk earlier today.

     
  288.  
    20:42:

    BBC reporters on the ground in Ukraine have been describing how events unfolded throughout the day. Here is a compilation of their reports via Twitter and video, including a dramatic confrontation at Belbek air base.

     
  289.  
    Paul Haigh, Zhytomyr, Ukraine

    emails: Having been to the Maiden on Sunday, seen the behaviour of the people there, visited the places in which the protesters where killed, then checked the list of those killed, their names and ages it is quite incredible that anybody could believe that it was young radicals, extremists and right-wing nationalists. You can see the mix of protesters. Putin, with the media's help, has turned this into east-versus-west, Ukraine against Russian-speakers; it never was, it is about ordinary people trying to make their life better by peaceful demonstrations against an extremely corrupt leadership.

     
  290.  
    20:49:

    In one hint of progress on Tuesday, Ukraine's new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said tentative talks had taken place between Russian and Ukrainian ministers. He described them as "rather timid" but "first steps," speaking at a press conference in Kiev earlier today.

     
  291.  
    20:56:

    Global stock markets have steadied on Tuesday, despite Russia's threat to abandon the US dollar as the country's reserve currency. Read our business story to find out how the crisis in Ukraine is affecting Europe's markets.

     
  292.  
    21:01:

    Jonathan Marcus, the BBC's diplomatic correspondent, says missile tests, such as the one today, are often planned a good way in advance and may well have little to do with the current crisis in Ukraine.

     
  293.  
    21:02:

    Nonetheless, Jonathan Marcus continues, it inevitably adds another element of "cold war" style tension to the current drama; a reminder that decades after the Cold War ended both Russia and the US still retain large nuclear arsenals often at a high level of alert.

     
  294.  
    21:06:
    A woman looks on as people watch news on a large TV screen at the Independence square in central Kiev on 4 March 2014.

    Onlookers keep up-to-date with the latest developments on a large TV screen in Kiev's central Independence Square

     
  295.  
    Jack, American living in Kharkiv, Ukraine

    emails: Wife was born in Kharkiv, son was born in Kharkiv. Of course they speak Russian. We resent this notion that all Russian-speaking people need to be "protected" by Mr Putin. Price of oil, and London controlled financial assets freeze are the only pressure that will get his attention.

     
  296.  
    21:23:

    Al-Jazeera's Nick Schifrin has been caught up in the thick of confrontations between Ukrainian soldiers and a pro-Russian crowd in the Crimean city of Yevpatoria. He writes on his Twitter account that some 150 people stopped his car and prevented them from filming: "Crowd of 150+ stopped our car, wouldn't let us leave. At one point threatened to flip the van. Demanded to see video we filmed in base."

     
  297.  
    21:24: Nick Schifrin, Al-Jazeera

    tweets: Members of crowd watched video, seemed placated. Convinced rest to let us go. But then we realized one of our tires had been slashed.

     
  298.  
    21:25:

    A Russian professor of philosophy at the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs has been sacked from his job after comparing President Vladimir Putin's actions in Crimea to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938. Prof Andrei Zubov's interview with Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty can be read in full here.

     
  299.  
    21:31: E, Vilnius, Lithuania

    emails: Russia is holding tactical exercises in Kaliningrad, very near to Lithuania's border. The air is thick with tension, people are talking about war and loss of independence. Mass media keeps flooding the Internet with panic and pessimistic news.

     
  300.  
    21:33: Artem, Sumy, Ukraine

    emails: I live near the border of Russia. On Sunday, more then 12,000 came out in the No War demonstration. But there were no requests to Russia to stop the deployment of troops. Moreover, people yelled "Death to enemies!", and it reflects the real intention of society. Our men enrol in army units to defend our land in case of invasion. It's united us, and this nation won't be defeated, either in the east or west of Ukraine.

     

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