Russia test-fires missile as Putin vows force is 'last resort'

Russia has test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile in a pre-arranged move as tension mounts over Ukraine's Crimea region. Vladimir Putin said there was no need to use military force in Crimea, but it would only be used as a "last resort".

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Inside Obama's security meeting in White House

US President Barack Obama held a second Ukraine-focused meeting of the National Security Council in two days.

Obama convenes the meeting in the Situation Room Credit: The White House/Reuters

Mr Obama met with the council for more than two hours on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning to discuss steps the US can take to de-escalate the crisis in Crimea.

He said that Russia's legitimate interests in Ukraine did not give it a right to "use force as a means of exerting influence", and insisted the Ukrainian people should be able to decide their own future.


US received proper notification of Russian missile test

The United States received proper Russian notification ahead of its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test-fire in line with a nuclear arms treaty between the two countries, a US official has said.

Russia notified the US of its plans before the crisis in the Crimea region began, the official, who wanted to remain anonymous, added.

Ukrainian and Russian troops were involved in a tense stand-off today after Ukrainian soldiers approached during a tense stand-off at a seized Belbeck air base in the Crimea region.

Kerry to meet with Lavrov to discuss Ukraine crisis

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tomorrow to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell reports.

Lavrov will not join the larger meeting with the Ukrainian Minister or the other foreign ministers.

John Kerry condemned Russia's 'act of aggression' in Ukraine. Credit: Reuters

The Ukrainian foreign minister is travelling with Kerry on his plane to Paris for talks with other foreign ministers including William Hague tomorrow.

Earlier, Hague urged Russia to attend the talks in Paris in a bid to resolve the crisis.

Russia 'test-fires intercontinental ballistic missile'

Russia has successfully test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, Russian news agency RIA reports, as tensions in the region over its seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region escalated.

The Strategic Rocket Forces launched an RS-12M Topol missile from the southerly Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea and the dummy warhead hit its target at a proving ground in Kazakhstan, the state-run news agency RIA cited Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov as saying.


Obama: Russia's actions violate international law

US President Barack Obama has said Russia's actions in Ukraine violate international law.

Mr Obama said although Mr Putin seemed to have a "different set of lawyers" making different interpretations, he is "not fooling anyone".

He added that Russia's legitimate interests in Ukraine did not give it a right to "use force as a means of exerting influence", and insisted the Ukrainian people should be able to decide their own future.

EU to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainians

The governments of European Union member states have reached a preliminary deal to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainian citizens at Kiev's request.

Interim Ukrainian government asked the EU to take the step after billions in public funds went missing.The individuals have not been named.

Austrian authorities have included Ukraine's ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich, in their list of targets but it was not clear whether his assets would now be frozen throughout the 28-nation bloc.

Russia 'would retaliate against sanctions' over Ukraine

Russia has said it will retaliate if the United States imposed any sanctions over the country's actions in Ukraine, after US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the US was prepared to take action to "isolate Russia" unless the tension was reduced.

"We will have to respond," foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

"As always in such situations, provoked by rash and irresponsible actions by Washington, we stress: This is not our choice," he added.

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