March 1 - Ukraine says it has put its armed forces on full combat alert and warns Russia that any military intervention in the country would lead to war. Mana Rabiee reports.
Ukraine's newly-formed government on Saturday said its combat forces are on high alert. The move comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin won his parliament's approval to invade Ukraine. That's where his troops have apparently already seized the Crimea peninsula, an area belonging to then-Soviet Russia until the 1950's. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk. (SOUNDBITE) (UKRAINIAN) PRIME MINISTER ARSENY YATSENIUK SAYING: "Any such intervention would be the beginning of war and the end of any relations between Ukraine and Russia." Putin says he needs to secure the safety of Russian citizens living in the area and Russia's Black Sea Fleet there. But Ukraine's Acting President says those are no grounds for invasion. (SOUNDBITE) (UKRAINIAN) ACTING PRESIDENT OLEKSANDER TURCHINOV SAYING: "All statements by the Russian leadership that Russian speaking citizens of Ukraine or Russian citizens are under the threat have been made up and are untrue. The Ukrainian state protects all citizens of Ukraine no matter which region they live in, which language they speak, which church they attend." Putin's justification to invade, the need to protect Russian citizens, was the same reason he used to launch an invasion of Georgia in 2008. That's when Russian forces seized two breakaway regions and recognized them as independent.