Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

REVISITED

In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

Read more

FOCUS

Bosnia: Hopes of change among disempowered citizens

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

¡Gracias, Gabo!

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Socialist rebellion grows

Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Analysis Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Police seek arrest warrant for South Korea ferry captain

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

Europe

Putin puts troops in western Russia on alert amid Ukraine tension

© Photo: AFP

Latest update : 2014-02-26

President Vladimir Putin ordered an urgent drill to test the combat readiness of armed forces across western Russia on Wednesday, news agencies reported, flexing Moscow’s military muscle amid tension with the West over Ukraine.

“In accordance with an order from the president of the Russian Federation, forces of the Western Military District were put on alert at 1400 (1000 GMT) today,” Interfax quoted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.

Putin has ordered several such surprise drills in various parts of Russia since he returned to the presidency in 2012, saying the military must be kept on its toes, but the geopolitical overtones could hardly have been clearer this time.

International arrest warrant for Yanukovich

Ukraine has requested an international arrest warrant for ousted president Viktor Yanukovich, the country's interim prosecutor-general Oleg Makhnitski said Wednesday. The prosecutor's office said it believed the fugitive former leader was still in the country.

The western district borders Ukraine, which lies between NATO nations and Russia. Shoigu said the drill would be conducted in two stages, ending on March 3, and also involved some forces in central Russia.

Putin has made no public comment on Ukraine since deposed president Viktor Yanukovich was driven from power over the weekend after months of political turmoil sparked by his decision to spurn deals with the European Union and improve ties with Russia.

The United States and European nations have warned Russia against military intervention in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that Putin has called a “brother nation” and wants to be part of a Eurasian Union he is building in the region.

Russian officials have said Moscow will not interfere in Ukraine, while accusing the West of doing so, and Interfax cited the speaker of the upper parliament house, Valentina Matviyenko, as saying on Wednesday it would not use force.

But Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Russia’s interests and its citizens in Ukraine were under threat, language reminiscent of statements justifying Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, when he was president.

Scuffles in Crimea

Meanwhile in Ukraine's largely pro-Russian Crimea region where the regional parliament was to hold a crisis session on the turmoil that has gripped the country, police struggled to keep apart rival groups holding competing rallies.

In the regional capital of Simferopol, 10,000 Muslim Crimean Tatars rallied in support of Ukraine's interim leaders, waving Ukrainian flags and chanting “Ukraine is not Russia” and “Allahu Akbar”,' while a smaller pro-Russian rally nearby called for stronger ties with Russia and waved Russian flags.

Protesters shouted and punched each other in ongoing scuffles, as police and leaders from both sides struggled to keep the two groups apart.

The tensions in Crimea – a peninsula jutting into the Black Sea that is strategically critical because it is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet – highlight the divisions that run through this country of 46 million after months of protests that ultimately forced the pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovich to flee the capital.

It also underscores fears that the country's mainly Russian-speaking east will not recognise the interim authorities' legitimacy.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)
 

Date created : 2014-02-26

  • UKRAINE

    Pro-Russia Ukrainians want Moscow to ‘save them’

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    US, UK say Ukraine no East-West battleground

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    Destroyed documents hint at Yanukovich's shady deals

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)