Ukrainian President Announces Creation of New National Guard — Ukraine Update

"to protect the country and citizens against all criminals, external and internal aggression."


UPDATE (11:23a.m. ET 3/11/2014): Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov has declared the creation of a national guard, which will be deployed with Ukrainian armed forces in order "to protect the country and citizens against all criminals, external and internal aggression."

Keep up with Reason's analysis of actions in Ukraine: Read our latest writing.

UPDATE (8:59a.m. ET 3/11/2014): All flights to the airport in Simferopol, except for those coming in from Moscow, have been suspended. 

UPDATE (7:46a.m. ET 3/11/2014): Secretary of State John Kerry has rejected an offer to hold talkswith Russian President Vladimir Putin on the crisis in Ukraine.  

UPDATE (6:05p.m. ET 3/10/2014): Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has outlined how he would handle Putin in the current crisis, saying that "Russia's president should be isolated for his actions."

UPDATE (5:59p.m. ET 3/10/2014): The Obama administration is looking to get China to back its efforts to isolate Russia amid the onging crisis in Ukraine. 

UPDATE (4:51p.m. ET 3/10/2014): British British Energy Secretary Ed Davey has said that British utility companies should not exploit the crisis in Ukraine in order to raise prices. 

UPDATE (4:27p.m. ET 3/10/2014): Ukraine has begun military drills as Russia strengthens its position in Crimea. 

UPDATE (2:35p.m. ET 3/10/2014): Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claims that U.S. intelligence did not fail before the Russia invasion of Crimea. 

UPDATE (10:44 a.m. ET 3/10/2014): The Kremlin says it is concerned about "lawlessness" by far-right activits in the east of Ukraine, something the Ukrainian government is worried could be a prelude to Russian military intervention.

UPDATE (8:51 a.m. ET 3/10/2014): In an op-ed for Time magazine, Rand Paul wrote that he believes Russia invaded Ukraine in part because it didn't feel threatened by the U.S., and that were he president he wouldn't have allowed it to happen. He stressed, nevertheless, that he did not support military intervention in Ukraine.

UPDATE (5:40 p.m. ET 3/9/2014): Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates told Fox News Sunday he doesn't believe Russia will let Crimea slip out of its hands.

UPDATE (12:17 p.m. ET 3/8/2014): Presumably pro-Russian militants fired warning shots at international monitors invited to Crimea by Kiev. The monitors have tried and failed to enter Crimea twice before.

UPDATE (7:04 p.m. ET 3/7/2014): A stand-off between a pro-Russia armed group and Ukrainian soldiers at a base in Crimea reportedly ended without incident.

UPDATE (5:49 p.m. ET 3/7/2014): Russian lawmakers have pledged to welcome Crimea into Russia if a planned referendum approves the move.

UPDATE (5:11 p.m. ET 3/7/14): The United Nations expressed concern over decisions being made "in the heat of the moment" in Crimea, which is planning to vote on joining Russia next week. The interim Ukrainian president said he cancelled that referendum.

UPDATE (3:10 p.m. ET, 3/7/14): Russian troopsreportedly attacked a Ukrainian military base a few miles from the Ukrainian port city of Sevastopol.

UPDATE (12:24 p.m. ET, 3/7/14): Russia has announced that it has begun air defense drills 280 miles east of the Ukrainian border.  

UPDATE (9:54 a.m. ET, 3/7/14): The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun is in the Black Sea. 

UPDATE (7:35 a.m. ET, 3/7/14): President Obama has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Crimea.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m. ET, 3/6/14): The US sent six fighter jets to join NATO patrols over Baltic countries and will send additional jets and troops to Poland for a training exercise next week.

UPDATE (2:55 p.m. ET, 3/6/14): Interpol has received a request by Ukrainian authorities to arrest ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.

UPDATE (1:25 p.m. ET, 3/6/14): In a White House speech, President Barack Obama said that new economic sanctions against Russia will "impose a cost" for their intervention in Ukriane and opposed a referendum in Crimea to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

UPDATE (1:09 p.m. ET 3/6/14): The interim president of Ukraine is reportedly trying to block a referendum in Crimea on whether the region should join Russia, and is beginning to dismiss local lawmakers.

UPDATE (10:01 a.m. ET 3/6/14): President Obama is headed to South Florida to talk at a local school about education and the economy. He intended to spend the weekend in the area with his family, but the White House says those plans may be nixed because of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

UPDATE (9:10 a.m. ET 3/6/14): The White House plans to impose sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian officials and others it believes are responsible for the crisis in Ukraine.

UPDATE (8:25 a.m. ET 3/6/14): The Crimean parliament voted to secede and to join Russia. The parliament also set up a vote for March 16 on the question. The national Ukrainian government says secession requires the whole country's approval, not just a region's.

UPDATE (6:22 p.m. ET, 3/5/14): Liz Wahl has quit RT, the network funded by the Russian government, live on air saying, "I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin."

UPDATE (5:33 p.m. ET, 3/5/14): Hilary Clinton is standing by a comment she made comparing Russia and the Nazis, saying:

What I said yesterday is that the claims by [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea, maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect Russian minorities, that is reminiscent of claims made back in the 1930s.

UPDATE (4:15 p.m. ET, 3/5/14): Secretary of State John Kerry has said that foreign ministers have agreed to further talks "in the coming days."

UPDATE (2:30 p.m. ET, 3/5/14): House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wants the Obama administration to export more natural in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. 

UPDATE (2:24 p.m. ET, 3/5/14): Russian lawmakers are drafting legislation that would allow Russia to confiscate American and European assets in the wake of possible sanctions

UPDATE (2:10 p.m. ET, 3/5/14): The Pentagon will boost training with Poland's air force and increasing NATO air polciing in the Baltics amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. 

UPDATE (12:38 p.m. ET, 3/5/14): British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned Russian action in Ukraine during Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament.

UPDATE (8:44 a.m. ET, 3/5/14): In ongoing regional talks about Ukraine, which John Kerry is set to join, Russia's foreign minister claimed unmarked soldiers in Crimea were "self-defense" units over which his country had no control.

UPDATE (8:00 a.m. ET, 3/5/14): The E.U is planning on sending $15 billion in loans and grants to Ukraine over the next few years.

UPDATE (3:20 p.m. ET, 3/4/14): The Russian military has tested an intercontinental ballistic missile near the Caspian Sea. It informed the United States of the launch as an arms treaty requires.

UPDATE (12:10 p.m. ET, 3/4/14): President Obama says there is a "strong belief" in the international community that Russia's recent actions violate international law. 

UPDATE (10:47 a.m. ET, 3/4/14): Russian and Ukrainian ministers have begun talks. The move was announced after Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kiev. 

UPDATE (9:52 ET, 3/4/14): Russian soldiers have fired warning shots at hundreds of unarmed Ukrainian troops in Crimea, who were marching on the seized airbase in Belbek. 

UPDATE (9:23 a.m. ET, 3/4/14): NATO will hold talks on the situation in Ukraine tomorrow. 

UPDATE (8:03 a.m. ET, 3/4/14): In his first public statement since the Crimea crisis began Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia reserves the right to use "all means" to protect the interests of citizens living in eastern Ukraine and that there are "nationalists" and "anti-Semites" in the streets of Kiev. 

UPDATE (5:00 p.m. ET, 3/3/14): Russia's ambassador to the United Nations claims that fugitive Ukraine President Viktor Yanuckovych asked for Russian military to intervene in the country after fleeing the state.

UPDATE (3:45 p.m. ET, 3/3/14): President Barack Obama said Russia is in violation of international law by its actions in Urkaine and said he was looking at economic and diplomatic measures to "isolate" Russia should they not pull back.

UPDATE (2:30 p.m. ET, 3/3/14): Russian officials say they have not given Ukrainian forces in Crimea a deadline to surrender tonight or face assault, contradicting previous reports.

UPDATE (1:30 p.m. ET, 3/3/14): Stock markets around the world have responded negatively to Russia's actions in Urkaine.

In addition, the United States announced it would not send a delegation to the Sochi Paralympics as a form of boycott, though athletes will still compete.

UPDATE (11:11 a.m. ET, 3/3/14): Russia has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 0300 GMT (2200 ET) to surrender or face attack

UPDATE (10:12 a.m. ET, 3/3/14): The U.K. will not take part in G8 preparatory talks because of the presence of Russian troops in Crimea. British ministers will not attend the upcoming Paralympic Games in Sochi. 

UPDATE (7:44 a.m. ET, 3/3/14): Russia says its troops will stay in Ukraine until the political situation has been "normalized." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claims that "ultra-nationalists" threaten the interests of Russians and Russian speakers in the region. 

UPDATE (4:45 p.m. ET, 3/2/14): Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Ukraine on Tuesday. 

UPDATE (9:21 a.m. ET, 3/2/14): Ukraine has ordered its military to mobilize. Russian troops are reportedly digging trenches on the Crimean border. 

UPDATE (5:45 p.m. ET, 3/1/14): The White House and the Kremlin have confirmed that President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the crisis in Ukraine today. 

UPDATE (2 P.M. ET, 3/1/14): Read Reason's Zenon Evans on the most recent developments here

UPDATE (10:04 a.m. ET, 3/1/14): The upper house of the Russian parliament has backed the use of military force in Ukraine.

UPDATE (9:24 a.m. ET, 3/1/14): Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the upper house of parliament to approve of the use of Russian troops in Ukraine.

UPDATE (6:15 p.m. ET, 2/28/14): Sen. Rand Paul released a statement also warning Russia not to interfere in Ukraine's sovereignty, saying "Russia, which has begun to experience the benefits of expanded trade with World Trade Organization accession, should think long and hard about honoring their treaty obligations and fostering the stability that creates prosperity for its citizens."

UPDATE (5:20 p.m. ET 2/28/14): In a prepared statement, President Barack Obama said the United States was "deeply concerned" about Russian intervention in Ukraine and that there would be "costs" for Russian military intervention there.

UPDATE (1:50 p.m. ET, 2/28/14): Russia's foreign ministry said the country has moved troops into Ukraine into the Crimean area in order to protect its fleet in the Black Sea.

UPDATE (1:30 p.m. ET, 2/28/14): A leader of a biker gang that President Vladimir Putin regularly rides with said his group is heading to Ukraine to back pro-Russia protests.

UPDATE (9:07a.m. ET, 2/28/14): Yanukovych says that military action is unacceptable and that he will not be seeking Russia's support. 

UPDATE (8:33a.m. ET, 2/28/14): Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has vowed to fight for Ukraine and has described new Ukrainian officials as "pro-fascist thugs" in a press conference today. 

UPDATE (8:01a.m. ET, 2/28/14): Armed men with military uniforms have been stationed at airports in Crimea, a region of Ukraine where there have recently been clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Western groups.

According to The New York Times, the men cannot be identified by their uniforms:

They were dressed in camouflage and carrying assault rifles, but their military uniforms bore no insignia. It was not clear who they were and they declined to answer questions.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has accused Russian forces of occupying the airport in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

The Associated Press has tweeted that the Ukraine's State Border Guard say that a coast guard base is surrounded by Russian marines. 

UPDATE (1:02p.m. ET, 2/27/14): Russia has indicated via a foreign ministry spokesperson, that Russia is ready to "interact" with other countries on the situation in Ukraine, but that any agreements had to "take the interests of the entire Ukrainian people into account."

UPDATE (11:29a.m. ET, 2/27/14):Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has turned to Russia for protection and also claims he remains the legitimate leader of the country

UPDATE:Protests and counter-protests continue in Crimea, the southern-most region of Ukraine, where former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is believed to have fled. Local media reports secession is on the agenda in the region, while  Russian president Vladimir Putin has put troops in western Russia, near the Ukrainian border, on alert.

How quickly things can turn around. Euromaidan protests began in Ukraine last November, after President Viktor Yanukovych suspended talks with the European Union about a closer relationship. On Friday, the president and opposition leaders struck a deal to end the protests; parliament voted to immediately stop violence against protesters and to limit presidential power, while the president agreed to early elections. While the president denied that he was resigning, parliament voted to remove Yanukovych and hold elections in May. Now, an arrest warrant has been issued for Yanukovych, according to the country's new interior minister.

Zenon Evans writes that protests were "fueled by a demographic-defying desire for democracy." Ukraine has seen protests before. In fact, a former prime minister who won on a wave created by protests a decade ago, but was later jailed, was also released this weekend. This round of protests were birthed by disagreement over whether Ukraine should build stronger ties with Russia or the European Union, reflecting a division by West and East. How that specific political debate is resolved remains to be seen.

Read more Reason on the Ukraine here and check this 24/7 post for more updates on the situation.

UPDATE: The now former Ukrainian president has fled to Crimea, and there are fears he may be trying to escape to Russia by yacht. He is on the country's most wanted list.

UPDATE: Ukraine's interim leders say they need a $35 billion cash infusion over two years to avoid default.

UPDATE: Interim Ukrainian President Olexander Turchynov has warned of the risks of separatism following the removal of former President Viktor Yanukovych. 

UPDATE: The Ukrainian parliament has voted for former President Viktor Yanukovych to be tried at the International Criminal Court. Yanukovych is believed to be in Crimea. 

UPDATE (1:41 p.m. ET 2/26/14): Ukrainian protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk has been nominated to lead the government until presidential elections are held in May.

UPDATE (4:46 p.m. ET 2/26/14): Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. is planning to give Ukraine $1 billion in loan guarantees.