Two killed in Crimea as crisis hits 'military stage'
Published on Mar 19, 2014 6:05 AM
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AFP) - Ukraine warned on Tuesday its conflict with Russia had entered a "military stage" and authorised its troops to shoot in self-defence after both sides suffered their first casualites since pro-Kremlin forces seized Crimea nearly three weeks ago.
The dramatic escalation to the raging security crisis on the EU's eastern frontier came hours after President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty claiming Crimea as Russian territory after the Black Sea region overwhelmingly voted in favour of switching from Ukrainian to Kremlin rule.
Ukraine's Western-backed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told an urgent government meeting in Kiev that his ex-Soviet country's conflict with its giant nuclear-armed neighbour was threatening to spiral out of control.
"The conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage," Mr Yatsenyuk said in remarks broadcast live across the culturally splintered nation of 46 million people.
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