Associated Press journalists on Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula have seen a convoy of hundreds of Russian troops heading toward the regional capital, Simferopol.
Russian troops took over the strategic Black Sea peninsula on Saturday without firing a shot and the new government in Kiev has been powerless to react.
There were reports yesterday that Russian troops had advanced out of Crimea – see Saturday’s live blog, at 18.11 – but that has not been confirmed.
For the moment, the action is limited to Crimea.
06:45 A couple of lines of early morning news in from the Interfax news agency
They claim Russian servicemen have taken weapons from a radar facility in Ukraine’s Crimea region and urged forces there to side with the “legitimate” leaders of Crimea. Interfax quoted a “defence ministry source” for that information.
They also report that the Governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, near the border with Ukraine, says armed groups tried to cut off roads there leading in to Ukraine.
“Armed men are roaming the area … There was an attempt to close off the road from Moscow to Crimea,” Yevgeny Savchenko was quoted as saying about events. “This is really troubling.”
More information as and when we have it.
05:20 Read Con Coughlin – Russia cannot risk open conflict with the West
QuoteAny precipitate action on the part of the Russians in Ukraine would put Moscow on a collision course with the West, one which, given the current poor state of the Russian economy, it can ill afford.”
03:20 The Telegraph’s David Blair has spoken to Leonid Kravchuk, who, just over two decades ago, travelled to a state dacha in one of Europe’s largest forests to sign an agreement that buried the Soviet Union and allowed the birth of Ukraine.
But the man who served as its first independent president, between 1991 and 1994, is deeply worried about his creation. In the aftermath of the revolution, he fears that his country could simply dissolve, with the largely Russian-speaking Crimea breaking away.
“The danger is enormous,” he told The Telegraph, speaking before Russian forces proved him right by occupying key installations across Crimea on Friday.
“There is direct Russian interference in the political life of Crimea,” added Mr Kravchuk. “Russia is already considering a simplified procedure to offer Russian citizenship to Ukrainians, not only in Crimea but in other regions too. There are ideas to turn Ukraine into a federation. This is very dangerous.