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Ukraine announces plans to pull out troops from Crimean peninsula Updated: 2014-03-20 14:13:13 KST

The head of Ukraine's national security and defense council told reporters in Kiev Wednesday that Ukraine was planning to relocate 25-thousand service personnel and families from the region, effectively surrendering the disputed territory.
His comments came after pro-Russian forces stormed two naval bases in Crimea on Wednesday night and raised the Russian flag.
These were just the latest in a series of takeovers by Russian troops and local self-defense forces using a mixture of attrition and threats.

The attacks on the bases in Crimea came as the United State and Europe sought ways to increase pressure on defiant Russia.

Speaking from the former Soviet republic of Lithuania Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden declared that the U.S. was "absolutely committed" to defending its allies.

"I want to make it clear we stand resolutely with our Baltic allies in support of the Ukrainian people and against Russian aggression. As long as Russia continues on this dark path, they will face increasing political and economic isolation."

The Obama administration and its allies said Wednesday that they are working to devise new and tougher economic penalties to stop Russian President Vladmir Putin from moving forces further into Ukraine's eastern territory.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also meet Putin in Moscow on Thursday to seek a way out of the conflict.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.


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