Russia’s military has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea an ultimatum until dawn on Tuesday to surrender or face an assault.
The head of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Aleksander Vitko set the deadline and also threatened two warships, Ukrainian officials said.
However, Interfax news agency later quoted a fleet spokesman who denied that any ultimatum had been issued.
Moscow has said its troops are needed in Crimea to protect civilians.
Russia’s military has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea an ultimatum until dawn on Tuesday to surrender or face an assault (photo Reuters)
The Kremlin says people in Crimea have come under threat from “ultra-nationalists” since pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last month.
Russia is now said to be in de facto control of the Crimea region.
Ukraine has ordered full mobilization to counter the intervention.
No shots have yet been fired in the region, which has a majority of Russian speakers and a largely pro-Russian local government.
But the captain of one of the threatened warships told Ukrainian TV his men were prepared to fight and would not surrender.
The trouble began last month when pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted following months of street protests.
Russia claims its military is protecting human rights in Crimea, but Kiev, the US and Western Europe have condemned the actions.
Ukraine’s PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier that any attempt to seize Crimea would fail, urging allies to give economic and political support to his government.
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Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has rejected the army’s 48-hour ultimatum to resolve the country’s deadly crisis, saying it will only sow confusion.
Mohamed Morsi insists he will continue with his own plans for national reconciliation, a presidential statement said early on Tuesday.
The army has warned it will intervene if the government and its opponents fail to heed “the will of the people”.
However, it denies that the ultimatum amounts to a coup.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s state news agency Mena reported early on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr had submitted his resignation.
If accepted, he would join at least five other ministers who have already reportedly resigned over the political crisis.
On Sunday, millions rallied nationwide, urging the president to step down.
Large protests continued on Monday with activists storming and ransacking Cairo’s Muslim Brotherhood headquarters – the group from which the president hails.
President Mohamed Morsi’s opponents accuse him of putting the Brotherhood’s interests ahead of the country’s as a whole.
He became Egypt’s first Islamist president on 30 June 2012, after winning an election considered free and fair following the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has rejected the army’s 48-hour ultimatum to resolve the country’s deadly crisis
US President Barack Obama – currently on a tour of Africa – called Mohamed Morsi to encourage him to respond to the protesters’ concerns.
Barack Obama “underscored that the current crisis can only be resolved through a political process,” the White House said in a statement”.
In an announcement read out on Egyptian TV, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, defense minister and head of the armed forces, described the protests as an “unprecedented” expression of the popular will.
If the people’s demands were not met, he said, the military would have to take responsibility for a plan for the future.
But while he said the army would not get involved in politics or government, his words were seen by many as a coup in the making.
Noisy celebrations erupted in Cairo as protesters interpreted the army’s ultimatum as spelling the end of Mohamed Morsi’s rule.
Tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters of Tamarod (Rebel) – the opposition movement behind the protests – partied in Cairo’s Tahrir Square late into the night.
Meanwhile senior Brotherhood figure Muhammad al-Biltaji urged Mohamed Morsi supporters to “call their families in all Egyptian governorates and villages to be prepared to take to the streets and fill squares” to support their president.
“Any coup of any sort will only pass over our dead bodies,” he said to a roar from thousands gathered outside the Rab’ah al-Adawiyah mosque in Cairo’s Nasr district.
There were reports of gun clashes between rival factions in the city of Suez, east of the capital, on Monday night.
The army later issued a second statement on its Facebook page emphasizing that it “does not aspire to rule and will not overstep its prescribed role”.
According to Tuesday’s presidential statement, Mohamed Morsi was not consulted ahead of the ultimatum announcement. It said that such action would “cause confusion in the complex national environment”.
Given the inability of politicians from all sides to agree until now, the 48-hour ultimatum makes it unlikely Mohamed Morsi can survive in power.
The opposition movement had given Mohamed Morsi until Tuesday afternoon to step down and call fresh presidential elections, or else face a campaign of civil disobedience.
On Saturday, the group said it had collected more than 22 million signatures – more than a quarter of Egypt’s population – in support.
And on Monday the ministers of tourism, environment, communication, water utilities and legal affairs reportedly resigned in an act of “solidarity with the people’s demand to overthrow the regime”.
But Mohamed Morsi was defiant in an interview published on Sunday, rejecting calls for early presidential elections.
Tamarud, the Egyptian opposition movement that has led nationwide protests against President Mohammed Morsi, has given him until Tuesday to resign.
A statement issued by Tamarud (Rebel) said President Mohamed Morsi would face a campaign of civil disobedience if he did not leave power and allow elections to be held.
Protesters across Egypt have accused Mohamed Morsi of failing to tackle economic and security problems since being elected a year ago
The group said it had collected more than 22 million signatures in support.
The crowds seen in Tahrir Square in the capital, Cairo, on Sunday were the biggest since the 2011 revolution.
In sporadic outbreaks of violence, at least one person was reported killed in an attack on the headquarters of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, while four more died in the central province of Assiut.
Protesters across Egypt have accused the president of failing to tackle economic and security problems since being elected a year ago. Mohamed Morsi’s supporters have insisted he needs more time.
Jennifer Aniston wants to be married by the end of the year and she gave an ultimatum to her boyfriend Justin Theroux.
Jennifer Aniston, 43, who has been dating Justin Theroux, 40, since they met on the set of Wanderlust two years ago, has told friends the actor is “the one” and has even joked that she has issued him with an ultimatum to have asked her to marry him by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston explained the couple’s new dog Sophie, a boxer-pitbull cross, is a “test run” for having children.
According to Daily Mirror newspaper, Jennifer Aniston told a friend: “I’ll be married by the end of the year.
“We’re constantly laughing. Now we’ve got our new baby things are getting serious. We have new responsibilities.
“She’s like a test run for kids, I guess … although hopefully kids are easier to house-train.”
Jennifer Aniston is said to have added: “Justin and I argue over who takes the dog out and who disciplines her, but that’s about it. Things are fabulous. I’m happy.
“If he’s not got down on one knee, or we’re not married, by the end of the year, it’s over!”
Jennifer Aniston wants to be married by the end of the year and she gave un ultimatum to her boyfriend Justin Theroux
Jennifer Aniston, who divorced Brad Pitt in 2005 and then went on to have doomed relationships with Vince Vaughn and John Mayer, has also told pals she has “never been so happy”.
A friend added: “Jennifer has never been so happy romantically.”
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux have discussed their long-term future and both agreed that they love the idea of settling down.
Jennifer Aniston is beginning to open up about her relationship, despite remaining resolutely tight-lipped at the beginning of their union.
The actress even felt relaxed enough to even joke about how romantic boyfriend Justin Theroux in an interview to promote Wanderlust.
“He’s just the most cold, icy, fishy kind of a guy,” Jennifer Aniston laughed on Good Morning America.
“I’m trying to warm him up but you know…”
Jennifer Aniston then agreed with interviewer Lara Spencer when she proclaimed that Justin Theroux was “really cute and great in this movie”.