Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arsenly Yatsenyuk issued a blunt assessment of Russia’s military force invasion and subsequent blockage of military bases: This is war.
“This is a red alert,” he said, speaking on television from the parliament building in the capital city of Kiev, CNN reported. “This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war to my country.”
Ukraine authorities have called up the reserve forces and mobilized troops in Kiev, CNN reported.
A senior U.S. official said to CNN that the Russians had seized “complete operational control of the Crimean Peninsula,” and placed at least 6,000 ground and naval troops in the area.
And a second U.S official said, CNN reported: “There is no question that they are in an occupation position — flying in reinforcements and settling in.”
The two sides have not yet engaged in direct and open confrontation, said Vladislav Seleznyov, the spokesman for the Crimean Media Center of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, to CNN. But military clashes may not be long in coming.
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was a “seizure of power” that will ratchet tensions further.
“Such a state of order will be extremely unstable,” he said, CNN reported. “It will end with the new revolution. With new blood.”