Odessa protesters seek alliance with Russia
Pro-Russian gangs in Odessa, Ukraine demand unity with Russia. CNN's Matthew Chance reports.
Presidents Obama and Putin talk about Ukraine
The White House released a readout of the hour-long call between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Here's some of what it said.
"President Obama emphasized that Russia’s actions are in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which has led us to take several steps in response, in coordination with our European partners.
"President Obama indicated that there is a way to resolve the situation diplomatically, which addresses the interests of Russia, the people of Ukraine, and the international community.
"As a part of that resolution, the governments of Ukraine and Russia would hold direct talks, facilitated by the international community; international monitors could ensure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, including ethnic Russians; Russian forces would return to their bases; and the international community would work together to support the Ukrainian people as they prepare for elections in May."
CNN, other media asked to stop broadcasting from a hotel in Crimea
The management of a hotel in the Crimean capital of Simferpol where CNN has been based told the network to stop broadcasting from there. Other media outlets got the same message, and no reason was given. CNN's Anna Coren reports.
What was the tenor of the call between Presidents Obama and Putin?
A senior administration official with knowledge of the call's tone talks to CNN.
“As you’d imagine, they disagree over what’s taking place in Ukraine and Crimea. But, they also understand that there should be a diplomatic path forward, and (U.S. Secretary of State John) Kerry will be following up on that," the official said.
Russia: 'Government in Kiev is a result of an unconstitutional revolution'
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone about Ukraine. The website of the Russian President posted a note about the conversation. Here's some of what it said, as translated by CNN's Ruslan Semchyshyn.
"They continued their discussion of the acute situation in Ukraine. The discussion revealed differences in approaches and assessments of the causes of the crisis and the current situation.
"Vladimir Putin in particular noted that the government in Kiev is a result of an unconstitutional revolution. This government does not have a national mandate. It imposes its illegitimate decisions upon the Eastern and Southeastern regions of Ukraine and upon Crimea.
"Russia cannot ignore the calls for help from these regions. Russia acts adequately, and in full compliance with international law.
"The Russian President stressed the paramount importance of Russian-American relations to ensure stability and security in the world."
Vitali Klitschko talks about Ukraine's potential
As a championship boxer, Vitali Klitschko is used to a tough fight. Now, as a Ukrainian opposition leader he is in the middle of a whole new battle. He is one of the leading voices for his country.
Klitschko tells CNN's Anderson Cooper he wants people in the United States to know he appreciates the support his country is receiving from the West.
"We have huge potential ... And that’s why we have to unite to make changes in our country. It’s possible," he said.
Here's video of the interview.
On 'normal' life in Crimea
CNN's Ben Wedeman spent the last week or so in Crimea. In most places there, life is normal, he says. He watched cars being stopped for speeding.
"Life on the streets … does seem to be normal, but there’s this underlying tension about what comes next. And certainly, the idea that there’s going to be a referendum on the 16th of March to determine the fate of the Crimea really makes people even more nervous," Wedeman
America's military options in Crimea
CNN's Jim Sciutto and retired Army Gen. James "Spider" Marks look at how the military picture is shaping up in the Ukrainian crisis.
European observers entering Crimea, CNN's Matthew Chance reports:
An image of the European observers heading to Crimea from CNN's Senior Photojournalist Christian Streib:
Message of peace from Ukraine's paralympic committee in Sochi:
CNN's Senior Photojournalist Christian Streib shares the below image of European observers heading to Crimea today.
The 35-strong team from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a regional security bloc, was turned back by armed men at checkpoints Thursday. But they told CNN's Matthew Chance, who is traveling with them from Kherson in southern Ukraine toward the Crimean peninsula, that they intend to be more assertive Friday as they seek to get in and assess the
Armed men forced Ukrainian broadcaster 1+1 to stop airing in Crimea on Thursday, and Russian state TV channel Channel One is now broadcasting in its frequency, 1+1 General Director Olexander Tkachenko told CNN Friday.
1 + 1 is still available on cable and by satellite in that region. However, with the loss of its terrestrial broadcasts, they have lost 50% to 60% of their viewership, he said, according to CNN's Tim Schwarz.
Kachenko said this was a gross violation of the law and he is calling on Ukraine's National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council to investigate the matter and reinstate their service.
The unarmed European military observers traveling to Crimea at the Ukrainian government's request is making progress on their journey, according to CNN Senior Photojournalist Christian Streib, who is traveling with them:
The team from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a regional security bloc, was turned back by armed men at checkpoints yesterday, but they're trying again today.
Fears among Tatars
CNN's Diana Magnay has this powerful story of the Crimean Tatars - a Muslim minority in Crimea who were once forced out of their homeland, and now fear that war will come.
That Obama-Putin phone call
Jim Acosta at the White House reports that there was "pretty strong disagreement" between Presidents Obama and Putin when they discussed the Ukraine crisis yesterday,
Josh Earnest, the deputy White House press secretary, told reporters the discussions were "robust and candid."
How many Russian troops are in Crimea?
About 30,000 Russian troops are now involved in Crimea, Ukrainian border official Gen. Myhaylo Koval said today.
That number dovetails with analysis by IHS Jane’s that says Russia has raised its troop levels in Crimea from about 15,000 personnel in February to about 31,000 currently.
Earlier this week, Russia’s U.N. envoy said a treaty between Ukraine and Russia allowed Russia to have up to 25,000 troops in Crimea, where its Black Sea fleet is headquartered at Sevastopol. President Vladimir Putin has denied sending extra forces to Crimea – a claim met with incredulity by Ukrainian officials, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and others – but said he had the right to do so.
"If I take the decision to use military force, it will be completely legitimate and correspond to the international law, because we have the request of the legitimate president," Putin said Tuesday, referring to ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych. "And also (it) corresponds to our duties and corresponds to our interest in protecting the people who are close to us historically and have connected culturally."
Kerry talks with Ukrainian leader, Russian foreign minister
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry remained actively involved in the Ukraine crisis today. He spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, before talking by phone with Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during a stopover in Ireland, according to a senior State Department official.
Cossacks allegedly smash gates of Ukrainian military post
A Ukrainian military spokesman alleges that a group of Cossacks smashed the gates of a Ukrainian military post -- located in Crimea -- that controls airspace in southern Ukraine.
The Cossacks used a Russian military truck to breach the gates at the post near Sevastopol, Vladimir Seleznev, a spokesman for Ukrainian military in Crimea, told CNN on Friday. Some of the 100 Ukrainian officers at the base have barricaded themselves inside a control room, while others are negotiating with the attackers, Seleznev said.
The Cossacks involved in this incident, and now engaged in talks with Ukrainian officers, called themselves members of a "self-defense" group. They are not among those men wearing green uniforms without insignias that have taken up positions around several Ukrainian military sites in Crimea.
Rally in Moscow for Crimea
Russian officials have been outspoken about their opposition to Ukraine's new government and support for those in Crimea who side in Moscow. So, too, apparently are many Russians -- as evidenced at a rally today in Moscow, as reported by Russian state-funded RT.
Ukrainian official: Base's gates smashes, journalists attacked
The Ukrainian base in Crimea whose gates were reportedly smashed today was not taken over, the base's deputy commander Vitaly Onishenko told CNN's Clare Sebastian.
Here's what Onishenko says happened: Between 35 and 60 men -- who the deputy commander identified as Russian troops, though their uniforms didn't have insignias -- arrived around lunchtime and demanded that Ukrainian forces put down their weapons and cede control of the base.
The Ukrainian troops inside refused.
The two sides talked, and at some point what Onishenko called Russian troops drove vehicles into the base's gates to breach them. The deputy base commander said they failed, damaging the gates and briefly getting through before being blocked by Ukrainian forces forming a human shield.
Talks resumed again and -- while they did -- members of the self-described "self-defense" forces came and began attacking journalists, according to Onishenko. At least one person ended up being taken to a hospital before the self-defense forces withdrew, the deputy base commander said. Contrary to previous reporting, Onishenko said Cossacks weren't involved.
Eventually, the men who Onishenko calls Russian troops likewise pulled back and situation settled down.
Dozens of armed local militia men led by a retired general entered a Ukrainian military recruitment office in Simferopol in Crimea Saturday and put armed men on each floor, said Ukrainian defense spokesman Vladislav Seleznev in a post to Facebook.