Ukraine crisis: new travel warning for eastern regions

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As regional tension increases in Ukraine, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a travel alert which advices British nationals against "all but essential travel" especially in the east of the country.

In particular, the regions listed in the latest travel warning includeKharkiv, Donetsk and Lugansk.

The FCO also stressed that, as events in Ukraine are fast moving, any British nationals remaining in Crimea are advised to leave. The latest warning also specifies that it will be impossible to provide consular services to those who will choose to remain in Crimea.

Indeed, tension escalated in eastern Ukraine during the weekend, after Russia formally annexed the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on Friday.

Russian forces appeared to push harder in a bid to drive all Ukrainian forces out of the region, with troops assaulting an Ukrainian airbase in Belbek, firing automatic weapons and grenades and injuring one.

Also, Ukraine's warship Slavutych have reportedly been sized, while a Ukrainian naval base at Novofedorivka, in western Crimea, has been taken over by a mass of unharmed protesters.

After the Russian show of brute force, this morning Ukraine's acting president Oleksander Turchinov annonced the decision to withdraw all troops from Crimea, in order to protect the life and health of service personnel.

However, it is difficult to have a clear picture of the situation, with reports appearing heavily distorted in favour of one side or the other.

Ideed, on the issue of Ukrainian forces withdrawing, according Crimea's pro-Kremlin deputy premier Rustam Temirgaliyev: “All Ukrainian soldiers have either switched to the Russian side or are leaving the territory of the Crimea.”

Meanwhile, Barack Obama arrived in Europe to discuss sanctions against Russia with European leaders.

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