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Sen. McCain: Russia Could Take Over Ukraine; Clashes Between Pro-Maidan and Pro-Russia Groups

Sat March 01 2014 1:02 pm
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Sen. John McCain discusses the unfolding crisis involving Ukraine and Russia.

Ukraine: Russian flag replaces Ukrainian flag in Donetsk.

Thousands of pro-Russian protesters took down the Ukrainian flag and raised the Russian flag up the pole outside the regional council in Donetsk on Saturday. The Russian flag could be seen waving side-by-side with the Donetsk regional flag as thousands of protesters looked on cheering. Donetsk is about 360 miles southeast of Kiev.

Ukraine: Russian Night Wolves biker gang rolls into Simferopol. The gang received some ridicule on the comment boards on YouTube.

Bikers from the ‘Night Wolves’ biker gang arrived in Simferopol to support pro-Russian protests on Friday.

Hailing from Russia and across Crimea, the bikers stopped in front of the Crimean Parliament building to talk to demonstrators and journalists.

All roads leading to the Supreme Council of Crimea in Simferopol have been blocked by members of local self-defense units, Saturday.

All roads leading to the Supreme Council of Crimea in Simferopol have been blocked by members of local self-defense units, Saturday.

Meanwhile, members of Crimean Union of Afghan Veterans, airborne troops veterans, and representatives of other Crimean public organizations rally outside the Ministry of Interior of Crimea building.

Members of the rally, many wearing St. George ribbons, are holding flags such as the VDV (Russian Airborne Troops), St. Andrews (Russian Navy) as well as holding shields painted red, white and blue, the colours of both the Crimean and Russian flag.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has released a statement saying that unidentified gunmen from Kiev made an attempt to seize the Crimean Interior Ministry building in the early hours of March 1, and that the “attempt was thwarted by the Simferopol self-defence squads, but several people have been injured as a result of the clashes.”

Unidentified military elements moved into the centre of Simferopol on Friday, supported by columns of BTR-80 armoured personnel carriers, used throughout the former USSR. The soldiers did not wear visible insignia or carry national flags.

Armed men in Berkut military police gear joined civilian defence teams guarding road checkpoints in Armyansk, 150km from Simferopol, on Friday, restricting the access to the Crimean regional capital.

Checkpoints were built on Wednesday after tensions between pro-Russian and pro-Maidan demonstrators rose, resulting in clashes in front of the Parliament building.

Armed protesters seized the headquarters of the Crimean government on Thursday and raised a Russian flag on top of the building.

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