Western officials meet in London to discuss asset freezes and travel bans to persuade Moscow to withdraw from Crimea.
The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, has said that sanctions against Russia could begin as early as this week if Moscow does not respond to western proposals to solve the crisis in Ukraine.
But the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said in a televised meeting on Monday that the proposals “do not suit us very much”, adding that Moscow would propose its own solution to the crisis.
With no orders from Kiev, Ukraine’s besieged forces are starting to feel let down.
Some of the separatists wore mismatched uniforms and carried Kalashnikovs; all wore the red, white and blue emblem of the newly formed Crimean army bearing the motto “Prosperity Lies in Unity”.
One of the enduring images of defiance against Moscow’s might was that of Colonel Yuli Mamchuk marching his men up the hill at Belbek airbase to demand the return of facilities seized. They kept going forward, unarmed, singing the national anthem, after the Russians fired warning shots.
Colonel Mamchuk continued negotiations, facing yet another threat of attack unless he surrendered the part of the base he still held, something happened which illustrated that they could expect no practical support in their stance. A call came on his mobile telephone. It was one of the senior officials in Kiev. What were the instructions? “They just kept asking me to use my own initiative. That has been the case ever since the Russians arrived here. So we really are on our own here,” the Colonel told me.
Timeline: Ukraine’s political crisis
Key events in Ukrainian anti-government protests that have been followed by political upheaval and international crisis.
Ukraine has accused Russia of staging an “armed invasion” of its Crimea Peninsula after unidentified pro-Moscow gunmen appeared on the streets of the region.
2013 Nov 21
Yanukovich announces abandonment of a trade agreement with the EU, seeking closer ties with Moscow.
2013 Dec 17
Russian President Vladimir Putin announces plans to buy $15bn in Ukrainian government bonds and a cut in cost of Russia’s natural gas for Ukraine.
2014 Jan 22
Two protesters die after being hit with live ammunition. A third dies following a fall during confrontation with police.
2014 Feb 22
Ukraine politicians vote to remove Yanikovich. Tymoshenko is freed from prison and speaks to those gathered in Kiev. May 25 is set for fresh presidential elections.
2014 Feb 28
Armed men in unmarked combat fatigues seize Simferopol international airport and a military airfield in Sevestopol. The Ukrainian government accuses Russia of aggression. UN Security Council holds an emergency closed-door session to discuss the situation in Crimea. The US warns Russia of militarily intervening in Ukraine.
2014 March 7
Ukraine offers talks with Russia over Crimea, but on the condition that the Kremlin withdraw troops from the autonomous republic. Meanwhile, top Russian politicians meet Crimea’s delegation with standing ovation and express their support for the region’s aspirations of joining Russia.
2014 March 8
Warning shots are fired to prevent an unarmed international military observer mission from entering Crimea. Russian forces become increasingly aggressive towards Ukrainian troops trapped in bases.
For a full list of events, click on the link above (that leads you to the full article).
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