World Bulletin/News Desk
US Secretary of State John Kerry called for "utmost restraint" during his phone conversation with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday, said an official from the U.S. State Department.
Kerry called his Russian counterpart Lavrov to continue discussions, that began in Europe last week, on diplomatic steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, and to restore Ukraine's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Secretary underscored U.S.' readiness to work with partners and allies to facilitate direct dialogue between Ukraine and Russia.
In addition, he clarified that the continued military escalation and provocation in Crimea or elsewhere in Ukraine, along with steps to annex Crimea to Russia, would close any available space for diplomacy and urged the utmost restraint.
Kerry and Lavrov agreed to speak again in the coming days.
Some 11 border checkpoints in Crimea came under the control of Russian military, Ukrainian authorities said on Saturday.
An online statement from the State Border Guard Service in Ukraine said Russian soldiers attacked the Schelkino border protection unit and the Ukrainian soldiers on duty.
"Today Russian extremists attacked the radar post at Sevastopol. Armed attackers in military uniform and civilian clothes broke the door and entered the building. Radio technical units and telecommunication cables were dissembled and destroyed," the statement also noted.
Ukrainian military says there are around 30,000 Russian soldiers in Crimea.
Airplane patrolling over Crimea bombarded
Meanwhile, the Ukraine State Border Guard Service said an airplane patrolling over the border of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was fired on by Russians on Saturday.
According to a statement released by the guard service, the unarmed plane was patrolling inside the Armyansk air zone at 5.30 pm local time.
The pilot immediately changed his route, moved away from the scene of fire and landed without any damage, said the statement.
"While armed Russians are imposing every kind of oppression on Ukrainian border security officers today, this time they opened fire on an airplane despite the possible cost of human life", the statement added.
Last Mod: 09 Mart 2014, 11:07