Ukraine is calling up all military reserves and must ensure the armed forces are combat-ready as soon as possible, the country's top security official said on Sunday.
Andriy Paruby, Secretary of the Security Council which groups top security and defence chiefs, said an order had also been given to the Foreign Ministry to seek U.S. and British help in guaranteeing the security of Ukraine. The armed forces, he said, would step up security at energy facilities.
Meanwhile, Associated Press journalists on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula reported seeing convoy of hundreds of Russian troops heading toward the regional capital, Simferopol.
Russian troops took over the strategic Black Sea peninsula on Saturday without firing a shot and the new government in Kiev has been powerless to react.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected calls from the West to pull back his forces, insisting that Russia has a right to protect its interests as well as Russian-speaking population in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine.
On the road from Sevastopol, the Crimean port where Russia maintains a naval base, to Simferopol on Sunday morning, AP journalists reported seeing 12 military trucks carrying troops, a Tiger vehicle armed with a machine gun and two ambulances.
This comes a day after the Russian parliament unanimously voted for President Vladmir Putin's request for the use of force in Ukraine, despite warnings from the White House that the move will have serious ramifications for Russia.
Future of the Sochi summit?
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday pressed for the suspension of preparatory meetings ahead of a G8 meeting of world powers in Sochi, increasing pressure on Russia to defuse the escalating crisis in Ukraine.
The United States also said it will not participate in preparatory meetings ahead of the summit, signalling displeasure over Moscow's decision to deploy forces in Crimea.
"France's position is to call for the suspension of preparation ahead of the G8 meeting in Sochi as long as the Russian partners have not returned to principles in agreement with the G8 and G7," Fabius told Europe 1 radio.
Reuters and AP
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Updated Date: Mar 02, 2014 16:50:13 IST