Staff WriterABC News reports that members of the Associated Press in the area spotted a Russian marine convoy traveling toward the region’s capital, Simferopol, yesterday. This follows an unopposed Russian capture of Crimea’s Black Sea peninsula this past Saturday. The presence of Russian troops in Crimea follows a plea for Russian intervention to Vladimir Putin from the Pro-Russian Prime Minister of the area. The Prime Minister claimed he was in control of the regional police and the army, and unmarked, though obviously pro-Russian troops, are now patrolling the parliament and airports. Though a part of Ukraine, Crimea is a region close to Russia with many citizens identifying as culturally and ethnically Russian. The majority of Crimeans do not accept the Ukrainian government, and many would like to see the region integrated into Russia. Russia’s military movements in Crimea have prompted concerns globally, including a statement from President Obama which warned, “The U.S. will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for military intervention in Ukraine.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to withdraw his forces, citing a right to defend Russian people and Russian holdings, including a naval base, but has also issued statements claiming that Russia would respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. Even if Russia does not increase its military presence in Crimea, Russian allies are continuing their steady occupation of the region. It is currently unclear when and how Ukraine will respond, if at all, and what role the U.S. will play in this complex political and military situation.
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