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Putin Issues Warning Following 3 Deaths In Ukraine Fight

Ukraine says a crowd of 300 men attacked a military base on the Black Sea late Wednesday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of escalation.
Posted at 9:50 AM, Apr 17, 2014

Tensions escalate and the posturing continues in Ukraine as three people die and 13 are hurt in a confrontation at a Ukrainian military base near the Russian border.

ANCHOR: "Much more bloodshed in eastern Ukraine last night. Pro-Russian separatists attacked a Ukrainian National Guard post with guns and petrol bombs. Officials said three of the militants were killed." (Via MSNBC)

Ukraine officials say Wednesday night 300 men attacked the post in Mariupol, a city on the Black Sea less than 30 miles from the Russian border. Along with guns and molotov cocktails, officials said the men had stun grenades. (Via AlJazeera)

As has been the case for much of the conflict in Ukraine, semantics are now at play.

While some Western media like Fox News called it a confrontation involving "pro-Russia protesters," the state-funded Russian media RT's website dubbed the people who died "anti-government protesters" participating in a rally.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also appeared Thursday morning in a live Q-and-A session and for the first time acknowledged Russian troops occupied the region of Crimea when residents voted to leave Ukraine. (Via RT)

All along, Putin had denied the troops appearing to wear Russian military gear but with no markings to identify they were his men. (Via ITN)

He also made what has become a fairly expected and not altogether uncommon move, casually saying he hopes his military doesn't have to get active in eastern Ukraine.

Putin said: ​"I remind you that the Russian Federation Council has given the president the right to use the armed forces in Ukraine. I hope that I won't have to use this right and that we will be able to solve all the pressing problems in Ukraine today by political and diplomatic means." (Via Ria Novosti)

Businessweek reports the posturing is only increasing as Germany's President Angela Merkel — a politician now known for getting other countries to fall in step — considers imposing more severe sanctions on Russian businesses and the economy.

 

"In one of the most extreme scenarios being discussed in Europe and the U.S., Russia could be locked out of Swift, the Belgium-based international money-transfer system, as happened to Iran in 2012. That would cripple Russia's banking system."

The U.S. has already imposed sanctions on Russia, but it's encouraging a stronger effort from Europe because Businessweek reports America only does about a tenth of the business in Russia as the E.U. CNN says Russia probably won't balk.

REZA SAYAH, CNN: ​"They have a hand to play as well. They can hit back. Remember, Russia is a significant supplier of energy to Europe — about 25 percent of gas supplies in Europe are supplied by Russia." (Via CNN)

Several world leaders are set to meet Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland, to try to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Protesters overthrew ex-President Viktor Yanukovych in February after he spurned an economic deal with the European Union in favor of a bailout from Russia.