Soldiers, believed to be Russian, ride on military armoured personnel carriers on a road near the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
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Ukraine's foreign minister said Monday that his country was practically in a state of war with Russia, as Moscow further ratcheted up pressure on Kiev, claiming that Russian-leaning eastern regions have plunged into lawlessness.Russian forces have effectively taken control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.The region is to hold a referendum Sunday on whether to split off and become part of Russia, which the West says it will not recognize.The Kremlin statement also claimed Russian citizens trying to enter Ukraine have been turned back at the border by Ukrainian officials.Pro-Russia sentiment is high in Ukraine's east and there are fears Russia could seek to incorporate that area as well.In a televised meeting Putin was briefed Monday by Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, on the contents of a document Lavrov received from Kerry explaining the U.S. view of the situation in Ukraine.Obama spoke by telephone with Chinese President Xi Jinping late Sunday, trying to court China's support for efforts to isolate Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine.
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