Foreign Ministry warns Czechs not to travel to eastern Ukraine and Crimea

The Czech Foreign Ministry has warned Czech citizens not to travel to eastern Ukraine and Crimea in light of growing tensions in the area; those already there have been advised to depart. The crisis in Ukraine escalated as unidentified Russian forces took full control of Crimea - where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based - ignoring Ukrainian sovereignty on the pretense they were there to protect Russian-speakers. In response, Ukraine called up its reserves and ordered full combat readiness for troops, raising the stakes in the growing stand-off.

World leaders, including US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, have condemned Russian intervention in Crimea as a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and a breach of international law. But Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has thus far ignored calls for troops to withdraw to the base in Sevastopol. In a phone call with the US president, he reportedly stressed that Russia would act not only in Crimea but in the east of Ukraine, if necessary, to protect its interests. Mr Obama had issued a warning in a press conference on Friday that there would be costs if Russia continued on its current course.

Author: Jan Velinger