International support was shown in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Sunday as demonstrators condemned Russia’s decision to deploy armed troops in the country.
Yuriy Sergeyev, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations, has confirmed Ukraine is preparing to defend itself.
Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, spoke to the press after an emergency cabinet meeting in Kyiv:
“We are on the brink of (a) disaster,” he said. “We believe that our western partners and the entire global community will support the territory integrity and unity of Ukraine.”
Kyiv has now asked for international assistance, particularly to help protect its energy facilities.
“Obviously, we as ordinary Ukrainian people, are very worried about our children, about our sons and daughters,” said one Ukrainian woman. “Because they are our compatriots. But we will protect our country by all possible means – both morally and physically”.
“We don’t want a war,” said another man. “That’s the only thing I can say – we don’t want a war. Especially, with Russia, a country next door to our own. This is politics and people shouldn’t fight, they shouldn’t die in our times”.
People have gathered in droves in Independence Square, Kyiv, the setting for many of the recent protests in Ukraine.
Elsewhere several G8 states, including Britain, France and the US, have suspended their involvement in preparatory meetings for the next summit, due to be held in Sochi, Russia this summer.