Russian troops actions won't de-escalate situation

A flag is seen during a pro-Russia rally in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A flag is seen during a pro-Russia rally in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Jessica Hume, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:13 PM ET

OTTAWA - World leaders decried the warning shots fired by Russian troops that halted an unarmed military observer mission headed for Crimea for the third day in row.

Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula on the Black Sea, has been effectively occupied for more than a week by Russian forces that have been increasingly hostile toward Ukrainian troops there.

An international observer mission including two Canadian representatives has been attempting to enter Crimea after its pro-Moscow leaders announced a referendum March 16 to decide whether the territory would be repositioned as Russian territory.

The Ukrainian foreign minister has said Crimea will not be ceded and Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada wouldn't recognize the referendum being held in a country under "illegal military occupation."

News of the referendum wasn't welcomed by U.S. President Barack Obama, who said the quickness with which it was called violated international law.


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