Crimea: Obama warns Russia of intervention ‘costs’

Kiev claims 2,000 Russian troops have invaded the Ukrainian province of Crimea

LAST UPDATED AT 08:15 ON Sat 1 Mar 2014

BARACK OBAMA has warned Russia there will be “costs” for military intervention in Crimea as Ukraine’s acting president claims that 2,000 Russian troops have invaded the region.

The US president told Moscow that any military intervention in Ukraine would be “deeply destabilising”. During an unscheduled White House briefing, he added: "We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine."

A US administration official said that Obama may now cancel his plan to attend a G8 summit in Sochi this summer. Washington has also warned that discussions over enhanced trade ties with Moscow could be halted in response to Russian activity in Crimea.

Earlier, apparently pro-Russian armed forces had seized two airports in Crimea as Russian troop movements are reported across the territory. The new Ukrainian interior minister said he sees the move as “a military invasion and occupation in violation of all international treaties and norms” and “a direct provocation aimed at armed bloodshed”. 

Obama’s warning followed Ukrainian president Oleksandr Turchynov’s appeal to Vladimir Putin to “immediately stop military provocation”. He called on Putin to “withdraw from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea”, describing Russian activity in the area as “naked aggression”.

There are fears in the West that Putin may turn to full-blown military action to reclaim control of his former client state, or to place it in the hands of a Russian stooge.

The Times says “Western weakness” has encouraged Putin’s move, claiming that the crisis is the "most serious security emergency since Russia's invasion of northern Georgia in 2008, and arguably since the end of the Cold War”. · 

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