The West is keeping a close eye on the movements of the Russian military after it annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea.
NATO released satellite images of the Russian-Ukrainian border on April 10, saying that data shows 40,000 Russian troops, as well as tanks and other weaponry, "at high readiness" near the border. NATO Sec. General Fogh Rasmussen reiterated on April 11 that Russia should withdraw its forces.
"The authorities of Ukraine view today's events [on April 12] as a display of aggression by the Russian Federation." Arsen Avakov, Ukrainian interior minister
"All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated." Text of joint agreement
All 193 military installations in Crimea are flying Russian flags, according to Russia's military chief of staff. On March 25, Russian troops stormed the last remaining Ukrainian naval ship and took control of it. A day earlier, Ukraine's interim government ordered troops to withdraw from Crimea.
Russian forces achieved the annexation of Crimea with minimal loss of life. One Ukrainian soldier was killed in an attack on a base at Sevastopol March 18. Other seizures of military bases have been met with little opposition.
The Crimean situation began when ethnic Russians began protesting outside the Crimean parliament over the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych. Forces from Russia's Black Sea Fleet moved moved in to secure the parliament, which subsequently voted to hold a referendum to leave Ukraine.
The White House released a statement on March 28 that Russian President Putin called President Obama to discuss a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine. Obama urged Putin to pull back his troops from Ukraine's border and reiterated that the U.S. opposes actions violating Ukraine's sovereignty.
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