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Ukraine defence chief says Russia has sent 6,000 troops to Crimea

Published on Mar 1, 2014 6:42 PM

KIEV/SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (REUTERS, AFP) - Ukraine accused Russia on Saturday of sending thousands of additional troops to the southern Crimea region, which has a majority ethnic Russian population, and said it had placed its military in the area on high alert.

Ukraine's defence chief Igor Tenyukh said Russia had sent 6,000 troops and 30 armoured personnel carriers into Crimea as the restive peninsula tries to gain broader independence from new pro-EU leaders in Kiev.

Tenyukh told a cabinet meeting that Russia began sending these reinforcements on Friday "without warning or Ukraine's permission, in defiance of the principle of non-infringement of state borders."

Russia said unidentified gunmen sent by Kiev had attempted overnight to seize the Crimea region's Interior Ministry offices and that people had been wounded in the attack.

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