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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ukraine pulls out troops in Crimea as Group of Eight boots Russia -- By Dave Boyer, The Washington Times

Powerless to stop Russia's takeover of its territory, Ukraine ordered the withdrawal of its remaining troops from Crimea on Monday while the U.S. and other countries suspended Russia from the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

The order by Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov completed Ukraine's capitulation of the strategic peninsula, where Russian units seized several more military bases in the past three days, in some cases smashing armored vehicles through gates and firing guns into the air. Russian troops captured a naval base in Feodosia, on the peninsula's eastern coast, early Monday.

President Obama, in Amsterdam for a long-scheduled nuclear summit, held an emergency meeting on the crisis in Ukraine with the leaders of the G-8, who agreed to cancel their attendance at a scheduled meeting in Sochi, Russia, in June. The other nations in the G-8 — the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Italy — condemned Russia's actions as a "clear violation of international law" and said they would meet instead in Brussels this summer without Russia.

After the two-hour, closed-door meeting, the leaders said they should shun Moscow "until Russia changes course and the environment comes back to where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion."

The world powers warned that they were prepared to "intensify actions" against Russia, including ordering more severe economic sanctions, if the Kremlin escalates its incursion into Ukraine.
In an unexpected development, Russia's foreign minister met in The Hague with his Ukrainian counterpart, the highest level of contact between the two nations since Russia moved forces into Crimea nearly a month ago.

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