russia

Maidan self-defence activists walk as an...Maidan self-defence activists walk as anti-war placards are hung in  Kiev on March 13, 2014.  Ukraine moved Thursday to mobilise a volunteer force to ward off Russia's expansionist threat. AFP PHOTO/ ANATOLII STEPANOVANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP/Getty Images

Anatolii Stepano/AFP

Maidan self-defence activists walk as anti-war placards are hung in Kiev on Thursday. Ukraine has moved to mobilise a volunteer force to ward off Russia’s expansionist threat. Read more

Pro-Kremlin activists hold Russian national, Russian and Soviet naval flags and orange-black flags made of the St. George's Ribbons, a well-known Russian symbol of military valor, during a rally in support of ethnic Russians in Ukraine  in central Moscow, on March 10, 2014. Ukraine sought today urgent Western backing after Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that Crimea had the right to join his country even while hinting at a readiness for dialogue.

Dmitry Serebryakov/AFP

Pro-Kremlin activists hold Russian national, Russian and Soviet naval flags and orange-black flags made of the St George’s Ribbons, a well-known Russian symbol of military valor, during a rally in support of ethnic Russians in Ukraine in central Moscow, on Monday.

**BESTPIX**  Tensions Grow In Crimea As Diplomatic Talks Continue...SIMFEROPOL, UKRAINE - MARCH 07:  Cossacks stand guard at the entrance to the Crimean Parliament building on March 7, 2014 in Simferopol, Ukraine. Russian Cossacks, some heavily armed, have taken up guard duties at road checkpoints, border crossings and other key facilities that were previously guarded by local, pro-Russian militants across Crimea in recent days. The Crimean Parliament voted yesterday to hold a referendum on March 16 to determine whether Crimea shall secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Sean Gallup/Getty

Cossacks stand guard at the entrance to the Crimean parliament building on Friday in Simferopol, Ukraine. Russian Cossacks, some heavily armed, have taken up guard duties at road checkpoints, border crossings and other key facilities that were previously guarded by local, pro-Russian militants across Crimea in recent days. The Crimean parliament voted yesterday to hold a referendum on March 16 to determine whether Crimea shall secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Read more

Canada's Luscombe skis during the Men's Downhill Standing training at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center...Canada's Braydon Luscombe skis during the Men's Downhill Standing training at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, March 6, 2014.

Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Canada’s Braydon Luscombe skis during the Men’s Downhill Standing training at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre

A priest reads a prayer for peace to Ukrainian servicemen at a base in the Crimean village of Bakhchisaray, near Simferopol...A priest reads a prayer for peace to Ukrainian servicemen at a base in the Crimean village of Bakhchisaray, near Simferopol, March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Thomas Peter/Reuters

A priest reads a prayer for peace to Ukrainian servicemen at a base in the Crimean village of Bakhchisaray, near Simferopol Read more

A man holds a portrait of Josef Stalin before laying flowers at the grave of the late Soviet leader during a ceremony to mark the 61th anniversary of Stalin's death in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia.,

Sergei Ilntsky/EPA

A man holds a portrait of Josef Stalin before laying flowers at the grave of the late Soviet leader during a ceremony in Moscow’s Red Square to mark the 61th anniversary of Stalin’s death

Troops under Russian command fire weapons into the air and scream orders to turn back at an approaching group of over 100 hundred unarmed Ukrainian troops at the Belbek airbase, which the Russian troops are occcupying, in Crimea, Ukraine. The Ukrainians are stationed at their garrison nearby, and after spending a tense night anticipating a Russian attack following the expiration of a Russian deadline to surrender, their commander Colonel Yuli Mamchor announced his bold plan this morning to retake the airfield by confronting the Russian-lead soldiers unarmed. The Russian-lead troops fired their weapons into the air but then granted Mamchor the beginning of negotiations with their commander.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Troops under Russian command fire weapons into the air and shout orders to turn back at an approaching group of more than 100 unarmed Ukrainian troops at the Belbek airbase, which the Russian troops are occupying, in Crimea, Ukraine

Vladimir Putin, Sergei Shoigu, Anatoly Sidorov...Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and the commander of the Western Military District Anatoly Sidorov, right, walk upon arrival to watch military exercise near St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, March 3, 2014. Putin has sought and quickly got the Russian parliament's permission to use the Russian military in Ukraine.

Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA-Novosti/Presidential Press Service/AP

Russian president Vladimir Putin, centre, and defence minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and the commander of the Western Military District, Anatoly Sidorov, right, arrive to watch military exercises near St Petersburg on Monday.

An anti-Yanukovych protester salutes as the Ukrainian national anthem is played at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. The U.S. and its allies are weighing sanctions on Moscow and whether to bolster defenses in Europe in response to Russia's military advances on Ukraine.

Emilio Morenatti/AP

An anti-Yanukovich protester salutes as the Ukrainian national anthem is played at Kiev’s Independence Square. The US and its allies are weighing sanctions on Moscow and whether to bolster defences in Europe in response to Russia’s military advances on Ukraine. Read more

Military personnel, believed to be Russian servicemen, stand guard outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol...Military personnel, believed to be Russian servicemen, stand guard outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol March 3, 2014. Ukraine mobilised for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically after President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbour in Moscow's biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War. Russian forces have already bloodlessly seized Crimea, an isolated Black Sea peninsula where Moscow has a naval base. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters

Military personnel, believed to be Russian servicemen, stand guard outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye, outside Simferopol. Ukraine mobilised for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically after President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbour in Moscow’s biggest confrontation with the west since the Cold War Read more