March 18, 2014 / 4:15 PM / in 4 years

Ukraine PM: Crimea conflict enters military stage

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Tuesday that the conflict in its Crimea peninsula, now under Russian control, had entered a military phase and accused Russia of committing a “war crime” by firing on Ukrainian servicemen.

“The conflict is moving from a political one to a military one because of Russian soldiers,” he told a meeting at Ukraine’s defense ministry. “Today, Russian soldiers began shooting at Ukrainian servicemen and this is a war crime without any expiry under a statute of limitations.”

Yatseniuk said he had ordered Ukraine’s defense minister to call a meeting with his counterparts from Britain, France, and Russia - signatories to a 1994 treaty guaranteeing Ukraine’s borders to “prevent an escalation of the conflict”.

Earlier, a military spokesman said a Ukrainian officer was wounded in a shooting at a military facility on the outskirts of the Crimean capital Simferopol, but it was unclear who was behind the incident.

Reporting by Natallya Zinets, Writing by Ron Popeski

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