BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The international community has called on all parties in Ukraine's crisis to avoid military confrontation amid escalating tensions in the country's Crimea.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that his country is "deeply concerned" about reported Russian military movement in Ukraine and any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be "deeply destabilizing."
"The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," Obama added.
"Together with our European allies, we have urged an end to the violence and encouraged Ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to elections this spring," Obama said.
According to a senior U.S. official, Obama and European leaders would consider skipping a coming G8 summit in Sochi, Russia if Moscow made any military intervention in Kiev.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday also urged all players in Ukraine's current crisis not to "inflame" an already tense situation in the country.
The top American envoy said his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov assured him over the phone that "as a matter of policy," Russia had no intention to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine.
Crimea is now the focus of Ukraine's ongoing crisis, where an armed group took control of the airport in the capital city of Simferopol on Friday, one day after security forces were put on alert in response to unidentified gunmen's seizure of local government and parliament buildings.
Under such a circumstance, the United Nations Security Council on Friday held an emergency session for a briefing on the volatile situation in Ukraine at the request of Kiev.
Ukraine's permanent representative to UN Yuriy Sergeyev said his government "expressed a strong protest of Russian military maneuvers and demanded withdrawal immediately" from the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea, an area heavily populated by ethnic Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians.
However, Moscow held that its troops and equipment were operating under the 1994 Budapest accord, which allows Russia's access to its sole Black Sea port, Sevastopol in Crimea.
In 1994, Russia, along with the United States and Britain, agreed to act as a guarantor of Ukrainian territorial integrity, as part of an accord under which Ukraine gave up Soviet legacy nuclear weapons on its territory.
Also on Friday, in light of the rising conflicts in Crimea, British Prime Minister David Cameron made a phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin, emphasizing "all countries should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," said a Downing Street spokesperson.
The spokesperson said Putin agreed, stressing that Russian military exercises in the area had been planned before the current situation in Ukraine.
Both leaders agreed that the free and fair elections Ukraine's interim government has pledged to hold are the best way to secure a positive future for Ukraine in which all Ukrainian people are represented.
During a phone talk on Friday between European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, the European Union also stressed the importance of addressing the current tensions in southern Ukraine's Crimea through political dialogue in the framework of the country's unity and territorial integrity.
Barroso told Yatsenyuk that the EU was studying the options to assist Ukraine's economic modernization, expressing the EU's readiness to support "democratic reforms" in Ukraine.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will travel to Ukraine next week for political contacts and in parallel, a mission from the European Commission will also travel to Kiev to conduct a needs assessment.
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk over phone on Friday that the European Union (EU)'s internal work is underway on options to assist Ukraine's economic modernization. Full story
Obama warns against military intervention in Ukraine
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- President Barack Obama said on Friday that the United States is "deeply concerned" about reported Russian military movement in Ukraine and warned that "there will be costs" for any military intervention in the country.
Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be "deeply destabilizing," Obama said in a hastily arranged speech at the White House, adding that it would violate Russia's commitment to respect Ukraine's borders and would invite global condemnation. Full story