Russia orders war games in show of force over Ukraine, US warns against intervention
KIEV, UKRAINE (AP) -
Russia has ordered 150,000 troops to test their combat readiness in war games near the border with Ukraine.
The show of force has prompted a blunt warning from the United States, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying any military intervention in Ukraine would be a "grave mistake."
Vladimir Putin's announcement of the military maneuvers came as Ukraine's protest leaders named a former banker to head a new government after the pro-Russian president went into hiding.
Russia denies the exercises have any connection to the situation in Ukraine and has pledged not to intervene in its neighbor's domestic affairs. But Moscow also has issued a flurry of statements voicing concern for Russian-speaking Ukrainians, including in the Crimea peninsula, which hosts a major Russian naval base.
The divided allegiances between Russia and the West have led to confrontations between pro- and anti-Russia protesters in Crimea. The protesters attacked each other with stones, bottles and fists, as police and leaders of both rallies struggled to keep the two groups apart.