Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ukraine poised to create National Guard

The head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council says a new military unit will be created to counter Russia's threat of a full-scale invasion.

The Secretary of the Council, Andriy Parubiy, said in Kiev on Wednesday that the most pressing issue for Ukraine at the moment is the creation of a National Guard comprised of 20,000 soldiers, including some volunteers.

He also said more than 40,000 people have volunteered to serve in the military since March 2nd, when the pro-Western government started to call in reservists.

The National Guard would be put under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry and tasked with bolstering border security and cracking down on armed groups operating inside Ukraine.

Parubiy said Russia has been bringing in massive amounts of funds to destabilize the situation in eastern Ukraine. In the east, pro-Russian residents are escalating anti-government demonstrations.

He stressed that the security authorities have arrested or blocked the entry of Russian activists in eastern Ukraine over the past few days.

The southern region of Crimea is now effectively controlled by Russia.