Ukraine unsettled as Russia moves military

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The situation in Ukraine remains tense as Russia conducts military exercises near the border between Ukraine and Russia.

A Pro-Russian demonstrator waves Russian and Crimea flags from an old Soviet Army tank during a protest in front of a local government building in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Ukraine's acting interior minister says Interior Ministry troops and police have been put on high alert after dozens of men seized local government and legislature buildings in the Crimea region. The intruders raised a Russian flag over the parliament building in the regional capital, Simferopol, but didn't immediately voice any demands. (AP Photo)
A Pro-Russian demonstrator waves Russian and Crimea flags from an old Soviet Army tank during a protest in front of a local government building in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (AP Photo)

“Russia has pledged to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” the Washington Post said. “But the dispatch of Russian fighter jets Thursday to patrol borders and drills by some 150,000 Russian soldiers — almost the entirety of its troop force in the western part of the country — signaled strong determination not to lose Ukraine to the West.”

This move is taking place in the wake of another major protest that took place in the Crimean Peninsula. Armed attackers stormed a building early Thursday, adding even more stress to an already tense situation.

At the same time, Ukraine is attempting to stabilize and create an interim government. Earlier today, Ukraine appointed a new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, according to Fox News.

“The 39-year-old Yatsenyuk has previously served as the economy minister and foreign minister, and a speaker of parliament,” Fox News said. “He was approved by 371 votes in the 450-member parliament.”

The Russian troop movements seem to pose a direct challenge to these new appointments.

“Thursday’s dramatic developments pose an immediate challenge to Ukraine’s new authorities as they named an interim government for the country, whose population is divided in loyalties between Russia and the West,” the Washington Post said.

This tension has spread throughout the world. U.S. officials are concerned this could only make issues in the area worse.

“Russian military exercises near Ukraine are raising concerns that Moscow may be putting troops in position to move across the border if such orders are issued,” a senior U.S. official familiar with the most recent administration said to CNN.

Russia also seems to be increasing security in areas near the United States, including moving a large ship to Cuba, according to CNN. This escalates an already tense situation, but the U.S. doesn’t believe it will result in anything.

“United States still believes that Russia doesn’t plan to order its forces into its tumultuous neighbor,” according to CNN.

“This isn’t Rocky IV,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.

As a direct response, however, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Russia not to use its military in this situation.

“Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned Russia on Thursday to stay out of the turmoil in Ukraine, while NATO defense ministers issued repeated statements meant to show support for the new leadership in Kiev,” the New York Times said.

“We expect other nations to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and avoid provocative action,” Secretary Hagel said in the New York Times. “That’s why I’m closely watching Russia’s military exercises along the Ukrainian border.”

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