Ukraine Bracing for Russian Assault; Russia Denies Deadline Issued; Obama to Romney: ‘Cold War Is Over’

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In Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, anger, outrage, and fear filled Independence Square as tens of thousands of protesters rallied against Russia’s actions. Ukraine’s Prime Minister warned that Russia’s military intervention in Crimea has brought the country to the brink of disaster. Charlie D’Agata reports.

Russian soldiers remained stationed near a Ukrainian military base on Monday, a day after Ukraine put its military on high alert and appealed for international help to avoid what it feared was the possibility of a wider invasion by Russia.

An entire Ukraine Air Force division has pledged allegiance to the Crimean people. 800 personnel and almost 50 war planes are now under the command of local authorities. That brings the total number of troops who have reportedly switched sides in the peninsular to almost six thousand in just two days.

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea occupies most of the peninsula of Crimeawhile the City of Sevastopol (a city with special status within Ukraine) occupies the rest of the peninsula.

Recent protests included the ousting of the Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych on February 22, 2014, and a push by pro-Russian protesters for Crimea to secede from Ukraine and seek assistance from Russia.

Russia’s UN envoy has said exiled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has asked Russia to use military force in Ukraine. On February 28, 2014, Russian military forces occupied key posts, roadway, buildings, airports, and other assets in Crimea. Russian soldiers were seen digging trenches along roadways, and snipers were observed taking positions. On March 1, 2014 the Russian parliament granted President Vladimir Putin the authority to use military force in Ukraine.

There is word that the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet gave Ukraine a deadline of dawn March 4, 2014 to surrender their control of the Crimea, or face an assault by Russian troops occupying the area.

Speaking in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama says Russia is “on the wrong side of history” in Ukraine and its actions violate international law. He says the U.S. is considering economic and diplomatic options that will isolate Russia.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour discusses her conversation with Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Arizona Sen. John McCain criticized President Barack Obama over his handling of the crisis in Ukraine. McCain says Obama isn’t doing enough to pressure Russia over its actions.

President Barack Obama to former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

“This is my last election,” Obama observed. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

Preceded by Vladimir Putin
Succeeded by Vladimir Putin

President Obama criticized Mitt Romney’s inconsistent statements about foreign policy concerning Russia, Iraq and Afghanistan — telling Romney the Cold War is over.

Obama on biggest threat: “You said Russia … The Cold War has been over for 20 years.” Romney: “Excuse me … I said. ‘Russia is a geopolitical foe’ … and in the same paragraph I said, ‘and Iran is the greatest security threat we face.'”

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