(KIEV, Ukraine) — Ukraine’s hold on Crimea was all but obliterated Wednesday when the interim government in Kiev announced that it will seek support from the United Nations in withdrawing its forces from the disputed region.
The decision came as pro-Russian forces took over the naval facility in Crimea a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the peninsula. Earlier this week, Crimean voters overwhelmingly decided to split from Ukraine.
Ukraine’s plan now, with the U.N.’s help, is to turn the area into a demilitarized zone.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden took aim at Putin, declaring that the U.S. will defend its NATO allies from any Russian aggression.
Standing with various Baltic leaders in Vilnius, Lithuania, Biden said, “Russia cannot escape the fact that the world is changing and rejecting outright their behavior.”
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the Russia annexation of Crimea illegal, citing it as the greatest threat to European security since the Cold War ended nearly a quarter century ago.
Rasmussen added that NATO must now take care of problems at home after dealing for years with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Laura Smith-Spark and Jose Manuel Rodriguez, CNN
Alison Daye, CNN
Barbara Starr, CNN
Rafael Romo and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN