— Anders Östlund (@andersostlund) March 16, 2014
The Ukrainian government will not remove troops from Crimea, calling on troops to prepare for war.
Kyiv Post reported:
In the wake of a March 16 referendum in which Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation, Ukrainian leaders refused to cede any part of the peninsula, calling on their troops to prepare for war.
“Crimea was, is, and will be our territory,” said Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh in a statement delivered at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center on March 17.
Former heavyweight boxing champion and leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform Vitali Klitschko announced that Ukrainian troops would remain at their bases, even after March 21, the end of a peace treaty signed by the interior ministries of Ukraine and Russia.
In accordance with the March 16 peace treaty, the Russian Interior Ministry promised to allow Ukrainian soldiers to pass freely into and out of their bases, which Russian troops had surrounded for more than two weeks. Tenyukh said that the Russian military had thus far respected the terms of the treaty.
Although tensions have de-escalated around military bases in Crimea since the signing of the treaty, neither side is prepared to back down. The Russian government expects that Ukrainian troops will surrender their military bases before the conclusion of the treaty. The Ukrainian government has said that it will not withdraw forces from Crimea, using the peace as an opportunity to replenish supplies for Ukrainian troops stationed on Crimean bases.
When asked whether Ukrainian troops would fight to defend Crimea, Tenyukh replied tersely, “The armed forces will execute their tasks, ” later adding, “Ukrainian forces will stay [in Crimea] until all their tasks have been completed.”
Ukraine army takes its positions along Russia-Ukraine border, ready to fight back – Defense Minister Tenyukh pic.twitter.com/mkqci9B6ug
— Maxim Eristavi (@MaximEristavi) March 17, 2014
Interfax reported: The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has approved a decree issued by acting Ukrainian President and parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov on partial army mobilization. The decision was supported by 275 out of 308 MPs registered in the session hall on Monday