U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders of G7 industrialized nations are set to hold emergency talks Monday in The Hague to sharpen their response to the Russian annexation of Ukraine\’s Crimea peninsula.
Details of the emergency meeting, set for the sidelines of a nuclear security summit, were not clear Sunday. But analysts say the session appears aimed at coordinating Western sanctions imposed on Moscow since Russian troops crossed into Crimea earlier this month.
The group also is expected to further evaluate the cost of possible retaliatory measures from Moscow.
Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are set to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States will discuss the crisis as Russian troops continue to tighten their grip on Crimea, having taken over a total of 189 sites used by the Ukraine military,.
Russian troops have seized control of a Crimean naval base at Feodosia, the third such attack in 48 hours, Ukrainian officials have told the BBC.
Defence spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said the Russians attacked the base from two directions using armoured personnel carriers and stun grenades.
He said they rounded up the Ukrainians and tied the hands of their officers.
Russia has taken over most of Ukraine\’s military bases in Crimea, tightening its grip on the peninsula.
A soldier at the Feodosia base told Reuters news agency that shots had been fired and confirmed that the base had been taken over.
Feodosia was one of the last remaining bases under Kiev\’s control, but had been surrounded by Russian forces for some time, says our correspondent in Crimea\’s capital Simferopol.
Two other military bases were stormed and seized on Friday.
Russian defence officials said earlier that the tricolour of Russia had been hoisted at 189 Ukrainian military units and facilities in Crimea.
In Brussels Sunday, NATO\’s top commander warned that Russia has deployed a "sizeable" military force on its borders with Ukraine, and says Moscow may be seeking to expand its territorial reach into new areas.
U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove told attendees at a German Marshall Fund event that Moscow may be eyeing a small Russian-speaking separatist region on Ukraine\’s southwestern border known as Transdniester.
Breedlove says the NATO command finds the potential for a Russian move into the Transdniester region, which declared independence from Moldova in the 1990s, "very worrisome."
Thousands of Ukrainians gathered on Sunday in Kyiv\’s Independence Square calling for unity, a day after Russian forces seized the last major Ukrainian military base in Crimea.
The rally participants gathered to hear pro-Ukraine speeches, display flags, and place flowers at the site of a makeshift memorial to anti-government protesters killed last month in clashes with security forces of the now toppled regime of president Viktor Yanukovych.
The EU and the US have imposed a number of visa bans and asset freezes on some members of the inner circle of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and are considering further measures.
Russia annexed Crimea following a Moscow-backed referendum in the area on 16 March.
Moscow\’s move came after protesters overthrew pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych in February.