A senior administration official says Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev Tuesday to meet with government officials. Kerry's trip comes as the US and other Western nations weigh a response to Russia's military advance into Ukraine. Kerry has raised the possibility of issuing economic sanctions and visa bans, freezing Russian assets, and levying trade and investment penalties. In other Ukraine news:
- The official said Russia has "complete operational control of the Crimean Peninsula," reports CNN. The official added that Washington believes there are more than 6,000 Russian air and naval forces in the region.
- "This is the red alert—this is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war to my country," Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said today, the New York Times reports. He called the Ukraine "on the brink of disaster" and asked the international community for help.
- At least 10,000 marched in Moscow to support Russia's invasion of the Ukraine while a few dozen anti-invasion protesters were arrested, the AP reports. Some pro-invasion marchers dressed in Soviet military uniforms and shouted slogans like "Fascism will not pass!" and "No to Nazism!"
- Putin defended the invasion in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a Kremlin statement, the AP reports. He "directed her attention to the unrelenting threat of violence" to "Russian citizens and the whole Russian-speaking population."
Click to read about President Obama's words to Putin
or the Ukrainian Navy leader who switched sides—on his second day