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Russia demands a return to Ukraine unity pact

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published March 3, 2014 at 9:07 a.m. Updated March 3, 2014 at 10:41 a.m.

pro-ukrainian-demonstrators-hold-signs-during-a-protest-outside-of-an-emergency-meeting-of-eu-foreign-ministers-at-the-eu-council-building-in-brussels-on-monday-march-3-2014-eu-foreign-ministers-meet-in-emergency-session-monday-to-discuss-the-ongoing-crisis-in-ukraine

Pro-Ukrainian demonstrators hold signs during a protest outside of an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, March 3, 2014. EU foreign ministers meet in emergency session Monday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

KIEV, Ukraine — Russia pressed hard Monday for Ukrainian politicians to return to the Feb. 21 agreement that promised a new unity government — with fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych back in power — would rule until an early election no later than December.

But the proposal seemed to be a non-starter as diplomats met in Brussels, Kiev and Geneva, and warnings about the dangers of Russia's military actions were issued from European capitals.

On the ground, pro-Russian troops held all Ukrainian border posts Monday in Crimea, as well as all military facilities and a key ferry terminal, cementing their stranglehold on the strategic Ukrainian peninsula.

"This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots, ensuring human rights, especially the right to life," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Geneva, where he was attending U.N. meetings.

There have been no reports, however, of any hostilities toward Russian-speakers in Ukraine during the country's four months of political upheaval.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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