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Deposed Ukraine leader Viktor Yanukovych has insisted he remains his country's legitimate president. And, as commander-in-chief of the military, Mr Yanukovych said, he was sure soldiers would not "obey criminal orders".
Speaking in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, the pro-Kremlin ex-leader of Ukraine remained unswayed in his argument that "extremists" had taken power in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Making his first appearing since fleeing his country last month, Mr Yanukovych told journalists that a presidential election set for May 25 would be illegal.
He also warned the US not to supply financial aid to Ukraine, saying it would be illegal, and US law did not allow the government to aid "bandits". Earlier, Ukraine's acting president Oleksander Turchynov said he was planning to create a new national guard within Ukraine "to defend citizens from criminals and from internal or external aggression".
Mr Turchynov said the mobilisation would include those who have previously served in the army as well as volunteers. He was addressing parliament ahead of Sunday's planned referendum in Crimea over whether the region should separate from Ukraine and be part of Russia. Russian forces have strengthened their control over Ukraine's Crimea region in the run-up to a contentious referendum set for Sunday on whether to split off and become part of Russia.
Meanwhile, PM David Cameron is heading a meeting of world powers in London today, to discuss details of sanctions that might be imposed against senior Russian officials if Russia continues its policy towards Crimea. Foreign and finance ministers will also look at extending the international freezing of assets on a number of pro-Russia Ukrainians, including the outsted president.
Mr Cameron has accepted that sanctions against Russia could have an impact on Britain but said the country's own security and prosperity would be at risk if countries were able to flout international rules without facing the consequences. The US, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Japan, Turkey and Canada are all expected to attend the talks.