Russia Buildup Pushes Ukraine to Brink of War

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Tensions in Ukraine remained high Tuesday amid a continuing standoff between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian soldiers marching to the front lines in the Crimean Peninsula were greeted with a warning shot and strong words against proceeding any further.

"Clearly, thousands of Russian troops are in control of the Crimean Peninsula," CBN News Senior International Reporter George Thomas said.
 
"But today tens of thousands of pro-Russian demonstrators have taken to the streets of many of the key regions in the east," he added.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, undaunted by warnings from the United States, said his country has the right to use military force in Ukraine.

He insisted he sent troops to Crimea to protect Russians and pro-Russian protesters, calling the invasion a "humanitarian mission."

But Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., dismissed that claim.

"One might think that Moscow has just become the rapid response arm of the High Commissioner for Human Rights," she said.

The United States and its allies are threatening to impose economic sanctions on Russia if Putin doesn't back down.

Putin warned such a move would be "counterproductive and harmful," adding his troops would only advance beyond Crimea if invited.

But Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.N. Yuriy Sergeyev said that decision can only be made by the Ukrainian government. He insisted the world community will hold Ukraine accountable if it violates human rights.

"It is our duty," he said. "If we are not capable to do so, then the international community should tell us."

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ukraine Tuesday to meet with leaders of the interim government. He pledged the United States would support Ukraine by loaning the country $1 billion.

One soldier said that like most Ukrainians, his family members are concerned for their country's future.

"Every minute they're crying," he said.

With additional Russian warships seen sailing from Turkey for the Black Sea and Ukraine, it appears more tears may be shed before the crisis comes to an end.

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