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Ukraine issues arrest warrants for Crimea's PM, parliament speaker

KIEV, March 6 (Xinhua) -- A court in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev has issued arrest warrants for the prime minister and parliament speaker of the country's autonomous republic of Crimea, the Prosecutor General's office said Wednesday.

Criminal charges had been brought against them and some other politicians in Crimea, said Ukraine's acting Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnytsky.

Last Thursday, the regional parliament of Crimea appointed Aksyonov, leader of the Russian Unity party, as prime minister in a closed session and announced that a referendum would be held over the future status of the territory on March 30.

Aksyonov said Saturday that he had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to help ensure peace in the pro-Russian region.

Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Alexandr Turchynov, who is also the country's acting president, later signed a decree to reject Aksyonov's new capacity.

Crimea, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, has become the epicenter of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by the parliament on Feb. 22.


Putin calls Ukraine events coup, defends Russian position

MOSCOW/KIEV, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called events in Ukraine a coup and argued that the use of force was Russia's last resort to solving the ongoing crisis.

Speaking at a televised press conference, Putin said that by the time of signing the agreement on Feb. 21, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had in effect given up his power.  Full story

Britain to try "every diplomatic opportunity" for Ukraine crisis: Hague

LONDON, March. 5 (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday vowed to try "every diplomatic opportunity" to de-escalate crisis in Ukraine.

"We are trying to use every diplomatic opportunity to bring Russia and Ukraine into direct contact with each other at a senior level to make sure that the governments of Russia and Ukraine are talking to each other," Hague said at a press conference.   Full story

NATO suspends joint mission with Russia

BRUSSELS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- NATO announced on Wednesday to suspend the planning for first NATO-Russia joint escort-vessel-mission to neutralise Syria's chemical weapons.

The maritime escort for the U.S. ship Cape Ray, which will neutralise Syria's chemical weapons. "But Russia will not be involved in the escort of the U.S. vessel," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a press conference following the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.   Full story


 U.S. to expand military ties with Poland, Baltic states amid Ukraine crisis

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said here Wednesday that the U.S. plans to expand military cooperation with Poland and Baltic states to show " support" for its allies amid crisis in Ukraine.

"This morning the Defense Department is pursuing measures to support our allies," including expanded aviation training in Poland and increasing the U.S. role in NATO's air policing mission over Baltic countries, Hagel told lawmakers.   Full story

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