KIEV, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The National Defence and Security Council has ordered the Defence Ministry to pull Ukrainian military forces out of Crimea, acting president Alexandr Turchynov announced here Monday.
"Ukrainian troops in Crimea have fulfilled their duties, giving the Armed Forces an opportunity and time to bring the troops in full combat readiness and start partial mobilization," Turchynov said during a meeting with lawmakers.
In the nearest future the government will start evacuating Ukrainian military personnel, their families and civilians from Crimea, Turchynov said.
Clashes between the pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian supporters in Crimea erupted shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty last Tuesday for Crimea to become part of Russia.
Following the standoff, Ukraine announced plans for evacuation of its military personnel and their families, as well as civilians from the peninsula.
Crimea is part of Russia: Belarusian president
MINSK, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus accepts Crimea to be a de-facto part of Russia.
Lukashenko said no one is demanding that Belarus legally recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. "Crimea isn't an independent state. It's part of the Russian territory. One can recognize or not recognize that, it will change nothing," Lukashenko told reporters in Minsk on Sunday. Full story
Russia reports increased inflow of Ukrainian immigrants
MOSCOW, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The number of Ukrainian citizens who have permanently moved to Russia grew by 20 percent year on year, the Federal Migration Service (FMS) said Monday.
"In Russia currently there are 1.607 million Ukrainian citizens, this is 20-percent growth year-on-year," Konstantin Romodanovsky, head of the FMS, told reporters. Full story
News Analysis: U.S. weighs further options with Russia in response to Ukraine crisis
WASHINGTON, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States is mulling its next steps toward Russia as Moscow seems unperturbed by what many have described as tepid U.S.-imposed sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.
The United States sharply criticized Russia for its actions in Crimea earlier this month, and U.S. President Barack Obama will head to the Netherlands next week to press European leaders to get on board with harsher sanctions on Russia while attending the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. Full story