Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Kiev: As Russian President Vladimir Putin secured Parliament nod to intervene militarily in Ukraine, Kiev has geared up to confront Russia, putting its troops on high combat alert with the newly appointed Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk warning that any intervention by Russia would be “the beginning of war”.
"Military intervention would be the beginning of war and the end of any relations between Ukraine and Russia," PM Yatseniuk said.
Ukraine`s interim President Olexander Turchynov ordered the country`s armed forces to be on high combat alert and also stepped up the security at key places.
Meanwhile, Ukraine`s Foreign Ministry has requested the US, the EU and the NATO to "examine all possibilities to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine".
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he will on Sunday hold a meeting to discuss the developments in Ukraine. He tweeted that there was an urgent need for de-escalation in Crimea.
— AndersFogh Rasmussen (@AndersFoghR) March 1, 2014
Also British Foreign Secretary Wiliam Hague will reach Kiev today to discuss the matters with Ukrainian authorities.
UK PM David Cameron had yesterday expressed concern at the Russian decision, saying there was "no excuse" for any outside military intervention in Ukraine.
"Britain views the developments in the Ukraine with growing concern. There can be no excuse for outside military intervention in Ukraine - a point I made to President Putin when we spoke," said Cameron yesterday.
"Everyone must think carefully about their actions and work to lower, not escalate tensions. The world is watching," he added.
With Putin getting an unanimous approval from the upper house of Parliament for sending Russian troops to Ukraine, Some 6,000 extra Russian troops and 30 additional armoured vehicles are now in Crimea, Ukrainian Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh said, according to the BBC.
Putin`s move is in sharp defiance of the West , which has reiterated that Russia must not intervene in Ukraine militarily.
Earlier Obama had warned that any Russian meddling will incur costs.
US President Barack Obama held a 90-minute phone call discussion with Putin over the military intervention in Ukraine, urging him to go for peaceful ways.
Obama told Putin that Russian intervention would be a serious violation of international law and Ukrainian soveriegnty.
“The US has urged Russia to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its forces back to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine," the White House said in a statement yesterday.
"Obama told Putin that, if Russia has concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russian and minority populations in Ukraine, the appropriate way to address them is peacefully through direct engagement with the government of Ukraine and through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council or the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)," the White House added.
But Putin reportedly told Obama that Russia possessed the right to protect its interests and those of Russian speakers in Ukraine, Kremlin stated.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon also called for the de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine and called up Putin conveying his concerns for any move that may compromise the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
"Cool heads must prevail and dialogue must be the only tool in resolving this crisis. I appealed to President Putin to urgently engage in direct dialogue with the authorities in Keiv," Ban said.
In Crimea, where thousands rallied supporting Moscow, Russian flags can be seen atop many administrative buildings.
The matters had began to heat up around Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine just after the ouster of Yanukovych, a pro-Russian leader.
Crimean peninsula is an autonomous region in Ukraine inhabited mostly by Russian speaking people. After the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych as the President, Crimea had seen many pro-Moscow rallies turning up at Sevastopol and other areas.
Crimea is home to Russia`s Black Sea Fleet and two-million people, with most of them being ethnic Russians.