Russia tightened their control on Crimea when they seized a ferry terminal early Monday morning in Kerch. It is only 12 miles by boat to Russia.
The soldiers at the terminal refused to identify themselves on Monday, but they spoke Russian and the vehicles transporting them had Russian license plates.
Gunmen and Russian soldiers seized government buildings and the Crimean airport last week and surrounded two Ukraine military bases. Late Sunday night, a US official declared Russia is in complete control of the peninsula.
“Russian forces now have complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula, some 6,000-plus airborne and naval forces, with considerable materiel,” the official said in a briefing for reporters. “There is no question that they are in an occupation position in Crimea…”
Ukraine’s new Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk ordered full military mobilization for war and said the country is on the brink of disaster. The West and NATO both condemned Russia’s actions, but Russian President Vladimir Putin said they have every right to protect Russia’s interests in Crimea. Sevastopol is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and over 58% of the residents are ethnic Russians. Crimea’s parliament dissolved their government and their new leader, Sergey Aksyonov, asked Putin for more troops on Saturday.
Canada pulled their ambassador to Russia and said they will not participate in the G8 summit in Sochi in June. The United Kingdom and France halted their preparatory meetings for the summit and President Obama told Putin America will not attend if he does not pull back.