Russia's ultimatum to forces asking surrender: Ukraine

Moscow denies, says no such demand

Russia's ultimatum to forces asking surrender: Ukraine

Ukraine’s military said on Monday that Russia had given its forces an ultimatum to surrender in Crimea or face an all-out assault on the strategic Black Sea peninsula that has been overrun by Kremlin-backed troops.

But Russia’s Black Fleet swiftly denied any such demand, and the country’s parliament speaker said there was no need yet for Moscow to use its “right” to launch military action in Ukraine.

“The ultimatum is to recognise the new Crimean authorities, lay down our weapons and leave, or be ready for an assault,” said regional Ukrainian defence ministry spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov in the Crimean capital Simferopol.

“It may be at 1 am, 2 am, 3 am (Tuesday, local time). There are different times,” he said.Ukraine has accused Russia of pouring more troops into Crimea, as world leaders grappled with Europe’s worst stand-off since the Cold War.

Crimea — the strategic host to tsarist and Kremlin navies since the 18th century — has been under de-facto occupation by Moscow-backed forces, who have raised the Russian flag over government buildings and blocked Ukrainians troops inside their barracks across the peninsula. 

The new leaders in Kiev branded Russia’s actions a declaration of “war”, and jittery global markets plunged on Monday over fears of a conflict while the price of oil surged.

However, in Kiev, Ukraine’s new prime minister said his country had “no military options on the table” to reverse Russia’s military move. “Any attempt of Russia to grab Crimea will have no success at all. Give us some time,” Yatsenyuk said. But he added that “for today” there were “no military options on the table.” 

World leaders were holding a series of urgent meetings and telephone conversations to try to avert a conflict. 

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