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Ukrainians urge unity after Russia storms Crimea base

Published on Mar 23, 2014 4:25 PM
 
Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, drive an armoured vehicle onto the territory of a military airbase as they attempt to take over in the Crimean town of Belbek near Sevastopol March 22, 2014. Kiev braced for a unity rally on Sunday, March 23, 2014 after elite Russian forces stormed one of Ukraine's last Crimean bases in a march that has defied both sanctions and global isolation. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KIEV (AFP) - Kiev braced for a unity rally on Sunday after elite Russian forces stormed one of Ukraine's last Crimean bases in a march that has defied both sanctions and global isolation.

Saturday's takeover involving machinegun fire into the air and stun grenades provided the most spectacular show of force since the Kremlin sent troops into the heavily Russified peninsula three weeks ago before sealing its absorbtion on Friday.

It came as the chill in East-West relations intensified with a charge by Germany - a nation whose friendship Russian President Vladimir Putin had nurtured - of a Kremlin attempt to "splinter" Europe along Cold War-era lines.

Europe's most explosive security crisis in decades will now dominate a nuclear security summit that kicks off in The Hague on Monday and will include what may prove the most difficult meeting to date between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

 
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