Russia demands 2 Ukraine warships surrender

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A ship sails by the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

A ship sails by the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Unidentified gunmen stand outside entrance to the General Staff Headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian soldiers seem to further cement their control over the strategic region, that also houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet, by seizing a ferry terminal in the Ukrainian city of Kerch about 20 kilometers (12 miles) by boat to Russia, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the peninsula. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at the gate of a military base in the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard at the gate of a military base in the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

A Ukrainian armored personnel carrier is stationed behind the gate of a military base in the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia pressed hard Monday for Ukrainian politicians to return to the Feb. 21 agreement that promised to create a new unity government which would rule until an early election no later than December.

But the proposal seemed to be a non-starter as diplomats met in Brussels, Kiev and Geneva and warnings about the dangers of Russia’s military actions were issued from a host of European capitals.

On the ground, Russian troops controlled all Ukrainian border posts Monday in Crimea, as well as all military facilities and a key ferry terminal, cementing their stranglehold on the strategic Ukrainian peninsula.

They also demanded that the crew of two Ukrainian warships immediately surrender or be stormed and seized, according to Maksim Prauta, the Ukrainian defense ministry spokesman.

Four Russian navy ships in Sevastopol’s harbor were blocking Ukraine’s anti-submarine warship Ternopil and the command ship Slavutych, waiting for their answers, he said.

Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at U.N. meetings in Geneva, explained the reasoning behind Russia’s military invasion of Crimea.

“This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots, ensuring human rights, especially the right to life,” he said.

There have been no reports, however, of any hostilities toward Russian-speakers in Ukraine during the country’s four months of political upheaval.

Tension between Ukraine and Moscow rose sharply after President Viktor Yanukovych was pushed out by a protest movement made up of people who wanted closer ties with the European Union, more democracy and less corruption. Yanukovych fled to Russia last month after more than 80 demonstrators were killed — mostly by police — near Kiev’s central square but insists he is still president.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s new prime minister admitted his country had “no military options on the table” to reverse Russia’s military move into its Crimea region, where Ukraine’s military admitted that pro-Russian troops have surrounded or taken over “practically all” its military facilities.

While Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk appealed Monday for outside help and insisted that Crimea still remained part of his country, European foreign ministers held an emergency meeting on a joint response to Russia’s military move that could include economic sanctions. But there was no immediate response to the Russian statement, which would void the new government that Ukraine installed just last week.

“Any attempt of Russia to grab Crimea will have no success at all. Give us some time,” Yatsenyuk said at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Kiev.

But he added that “for today” there were “no military options on the table.” He said his country was “urgently” asking for economic and political support from other countries.

“Crisis diplomacy is not a weakness, but it is now more important than ever for us not to fall into the abyss of a military escalation,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Brussels.

In the meantime, Russian forces were clearly in charge in Crimea, home to 2 million mostly Russian-speaking people and landlord for Russia’s critical Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol.

In addition to seizing barracks and border posts, troops also controlled a ferry terminal in the Ukrainian city of Kerch, just 20 kilometers (12 miles) across the water from Russia. That intensified fears in Kiev that Moscow will send even more troops into the peninsula via that route.

The soldiers at the terminal refused to identify themselves Monday, but they spoke Russian and their vehicles had Russian license plates.

Border guard spokesman Sergei Astakhov said the Russians were demanding that Ukrainian soldiers and guards transfer their allegiance to Crimea’s new pro-Russian local

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