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Rival Ukraine rallies raise tensions as Crimea crisis deepens

Published on Mar 9, 2014 5:48 PM
 
Pro-Russian supporters wave Russian flags during a mass pro-Russian rally in the center of Sevastopol on March 8, 2014. Thousands took to the streets for rival pro- and anti-Kremlin rallies across Ukraine on Sunday, March 9, 2014, as the West and Moscow dug in their heels over a deepening crisis in Crimea. -- PHOTO: AFP

KIEV (AFP) - Thousands took to the streets for rival pro- and anti-Kremlin rallies across Ukraine on Sunday as the West and Moscow dug in their heels over a deepening crisis in Crimea.

The protests come after a new marathon round of phone calls by United States President Barack Obama seeking to defuse the Cold War-style standoff in the ex-Soviet state.

Tensions in Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which has come under de facto control by Russian forces, have resulted in a new face-off between Russia and the West, with each side imposing sanctions or warning of further prohibitive measures to force the other to back down.

Foreign observers have failed to get into Crimea, a majority Russophone region of Ukraine, to get a first-hand look at the situation on the ground and were forced to turn back on Saturday after pro-Kremlin gunmen fired warning shots.

 
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