PRO-RUSSIAN MILITANTS STORM UKRAINIAN NAVY BASE
A group of Crimea’s pro-Russian self-defense militants stormed the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy in Sevastopol, one day after Russia declared the peninsula part of its federation. According to AP, Ukrainian servicemen offered no resistance and calmly left the building.
The early morning move put Kiev on alert, with Ihor Tenyukh, the interim Defense Minister, telling journalists that Ukrainian forces will not withdraw from Crimea. But Tenyukh, who was instructed by interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenuyk to fly to Crimea, would be barred from entering the territory, Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said. "They are unwelcome in Crimea. Nobody will let them enter Crimea, and they'll be sent back," he added. Read more from Interfax.
Meanwhile, Crimean police arrested a 17-year-old man from the far-right nationalist group Right Sector believed to be the sniper responsible for the deaths of a Ukrainian soldier and a pro-Russian militant, Voice Of Russia reports. Yesterday, Yatsenyuk had accused Russian troops and described the death of the Ukrainian soldier as an “act of war.”
The President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, who had asked to meet with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, apparently saw his visit to Moscow cancelled by the EU. In a statement full of irony, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Van Rompuy had been put “on a new sanction list — of those in the European Union who are banned to travel to Russia.” Read more from Itar-Tass.
The U.S. has treated Russia like a “loser” since the end of the Cold War, former U.S. ambassador to the USSR. from 1987 to 1991 Jack F. Matlock Jr writes in The Washington Post. In its editorial, The New York Times explains that Crimea joining Russia may be “a watershed in post-Soviet East-West relations, with a lot less for the Russians to celebrate.” In The Moscow Times, Nicolai N. Petro, a professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island, writes that “the new government in Kiev needs to accept the fact that Crimea is lost, however painful and difficult that will be.” But in a column for The Huffington Post, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says that “Crimea will always be Ukrainian.”
NO SIGN MISSING PLANE ENTERED CHINA
China hasn’t found “any sign” to suggest that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 ever entered its territory, although its destination was Beijing, The Wall Street Journal quotes China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, as saying. Meanwhile, relatives of missing Chinese passengers stormed the meeting room in Kuala Lumpur where officials were holding their daily press conference, South China Morning Post reports.
The aircraft, which went missing 11 days ago, is now assumed to have flown to the southern Indian Ocean, a source told Reuters. Follow The Guardian’s live blog for the latest updates on the search.
ISRAEL STRIKES GOLAN HEIGHTS IN SYRIA
Israel’s air force launched a series of strikes against Syrian military sites in the Golan Heights (Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967), killing one Syrian soldier, in retaliation for an explosion that wounded four Israeli soldiers, the BBC reports. This comes after a UN report showed that members of the al-Qaeda-linked group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, involved in the fight against Bashar al-Assad, carried out mass executions of detainees in Syria.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports the death of a 19-year-old Palestinian in the Hebron district, shot by Israeli troops as he attempted to cross the separation barrier.
The Jerusalem Local Planning Committee greenlighted the construction of another 186 new settlements in the illegally occupied territories, after having approved the construction of defense and police units earlier this week. Israeli daily Haaretz quotes a political opponent as saying that the decision “hurts the chances of reaching an arrangement with the Palestinians.”
ATTACK ON TURKISH STATISTICAL INSTITUTE
Six people were killed this morning in the Turkish town of Kars after a recently fired employee stormed into the Turkish Statistical Institute’s office with a firearm, DoÄŸan news agency reports. The man, who is said to have suffered from psychological problems, committed suicide after his killing spree.
STERLING NEW COIN
Britain has unveiled its new 12-sided one-pound coin. Learn more about it here.
DEAD PIGS IN CHINESE RIVER
157 dead pigs were found in the Gan river, in the southeastern Chinese province of Jiangxi, which supplies drinking water to the region’s main cityAFP reports. After carrying tests, the authorities however said that the water was safe for consumption, according to Xinhua. Last year, some 16,000 pig carcasses were found in Shanghai’s main waterway, putting the country’s sanitary problems in the spotlight.
Buenos Aires daily Clarin on the role Argentine-born Pope Francis could have on the race for president. “Sergio Massa spoke of poverty, corruption, family life — the Pope’s favored themes when speaking of a better life for Argentines. Yet, let’s remember, Massa was cabinet chief in Cristina Kirchner’s first government, when her party had the worst relations with the then-Cardinal Bergoglio. He’s busy doing some repair work now, though he has yet to obtain a private audience with His Holiness. Read the full Clarin/Worldcrunch article: Argentina's Politicians Latch On To Homegrown Pope
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