March 2 - Western representatives condemn Russia's decision to authorize military action in Ukraine. Nathan Frandino reports.
As armed men without any uniform markings surround Ukrainian units in Crimea, tensions boil in the west. Russia's authorization of using armed forces in Ukraine has sparked international outcry. The NATO-Ukraine commission held a special meeting in Belgium, where NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned Russia's decision. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATO SECRETARY GENERAL ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN SAYING: "We call on Russia to de-escalate tensions. We call upon Russia to honor all its international commitments to withdraw its forces to its bases and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine." Back in Crimea, Russian troops have urged Ukrainian forces to disarm and support the peninsula's pro-Moscow regional authorities. Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended the approval of troops, with the Kremlin pointing out the threat of violence from ultra-nationalists in Ukraine. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia has a lot to lose. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING: "There could even be ultimately asset freezes, visa bans, there could be certainly disruption of the normal trade routine, there could be business drawback on businesses in the country." Ukraine's new government has called Russia's actions a declaration of war and has mobilized its military.