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Diplomats converge on Kiev as Russian takeover of Crimea peninsula nearly complete

Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 02:18

March 22 - Western diplomats are in Kiev to diffuse the Ukraine-Russia crisis, as Ukrainians on either side of the conflict raise pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine flags in Crimea. Mana Rabiee reports.

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In the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, pro-Moscow protesters fly the Russian flag. They want their deposed President Viktor Yanukovich - this is his home town -- put back into power. They're hoping Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimea region the day before, might help make that happen. Russia's takeover of the Black Sea peninsula has been mostly bloodless. But it's still the worst East-West conflict since the cold war. In Ukraine's capital Kiev, the diplomacy continues. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with Ukraine's Prime Minister. He cautioned the Ukraine-Russia conflict musn't create a new division of Europe. (SOUNDBITE)(German/official translation) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER "The integration of Crimea to the territory of the Russian Federation are events that are in violation of the international law and conjure up the danger of splitting Europe. Our experience and lessons learnt over decades tell us this is a situation we cannot accept as we cannot allow bloodshed to repeat again." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was also in Kiev. He arrived Friday in a gesture of solidarity and support for Ukraine's fledging new pro-western government. The same government that lost control of Crimea to Russia shortly after taking power. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL, BAN KI-MOON, SAYING: "Ukraine's people have just gone through a trauma that no country should experience. I'm here to show my solidarity to the people and government of Ukraine at this time, at this time of challenge." Russian troops have surrounded a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea, one of the few bases still controlled by Ukraine following Friday's annexation. They're threatening to storm the base if the men don't surrender. And in Crimea's Sevastopol harbor, the few Ukrainian troops still on board this naval ship raised the Ukrainian flag on Saturday, defiant against Russia's Black Sea fleet stationed here. But most of Ukraine's forces in Crimea are gradually leaving their bases, powerless to stop Moscow's takeover of this peninsula.

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Diplomats converge on Kiev as Russian takeover of Crimea peninsula nearly complete

Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 02:18