Sunday, December 10, 2017
News Roundup

Ukraine denounces 'invasion' by Russian forces on eve of Crimea's referendum

KIEV, Ukraine — Russia's military staged a provocative new act of aggression Saturday, occupying a natural gas distribution center and village on a strip of Ukrainian land near Crimea and prompting Kiev's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to denounce "a military invasion by Russia."

The incident marked the first face-to-face standoff between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries outside the Crimean peninsula, suggesting that Moscow is testing the will of Kiev amid fears of further Russian incursions in eastern and southern Ukraine, which, like Crimea, has a large number of ethnic Russians.

The move came ahead of today's vote in Crimea on whether its residents want to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

Russia on Saturday blocked passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have declared that today's referendum "can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea." The veto was expected, but in a possible sign of Russian isolation, Moscow's close ally China opted to abstain rather than join Moscow in vetoing the measure.

The referendum will be held under the eyes of Russian troops, who effectively took control of Crimea late last month after protesters overthrew the pro-Moscow Ukrainian government.

On Saturday, Russian troops in four helicopter gunships and three armored combat vehicles descended on the natural gas facility near the village of Strilkove about 1:30 p.m. local time, according to Ukrainian officials. The Russians said they had seized the site out of fears it would be targeted by terrorists, according to a Ukrainian Defense Ministry official who spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.

In a statement, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry demanded that the Russian side withdraw immediately and said that "Ukraine reserves the right to use all necessary measures to stop the military invasion by Russia."

In Washington, President Barack Obama's national security advisers gathered at the White House on Saturday afternoon to discuss the Ukraine crisis, and officials said Obama was being regularly updated.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian officials reported a shootout between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrators that took place overnight in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Two people were dead and several injured after a group of Russian separatists approached offices being used by pro-Ukrainian activists, according to Tatiana Gruzinskaya, spokeswoman for the city's mayor.

In Moscow, tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators turned out to protest Russia's intervention in Ukraine, marking the largest political rally in the Russian capital in more than a year.

Comments
Bucs-Lions journal: Backup lineman was most unlikely of targets

Bucs-Lions journal: Backup lineman was most unlikely of targets

TAMPA — The Bucs’ unlikely comeback to erase a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter was capped by the most unlikely of targets. Tampa Bay tied the game when Jameis Winston threw a 2-yard pass to 305-pound Leonard Wester, a backup lineman who lined ...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
New normal: Firefighting at Christmas; U.S. homeless population increases 1st time since 2010; Athletes, celebrities rally for bullied boy; more in U.S. news

New normal: Firefighting at Christmas; U.S. homeless population increases 1st time since 2010; Athletes, celebrities rally for bullied boy; more in U.S. news

CaliforniaNew normal: Christmas firefightingA flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday. Fire crews saved several homes as unpredictable gusts sent the blaze churning dee...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fennelly: Gerald McCoy’s lost season may be over

Fennelly: Gerald McCoy’s lost season may be over

TAMPA — It was the face of a losing season.Gerald McCoy’s tearful, contorted face.Up there on the video boards at Raymond James Stadium. On your TV screen. Everywhere."I’m not a quitter," McCoy said. "I don’t play to lose."The Bucs lost their ninth g...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs-Lions: Grading Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss to Detroit

Bucs-Lions: Grading Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss to Detroit

TAMPA — It was football weather, cool, crisp, a day for the Bucs and their fans. That explains the crowd. Stow the zinc oxide. Where’s my muff?Oh, and break out the record book.For the 28th time in their 42-year history, the Bucs are losers. They sec...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buc-Lions: The end could be near for Doug Martin

Buc-Lions: The end could be near for Doug Martin

TAMPA — One costly fumble Sunday did what two seasons with the worst average per carry in the NFL couldn’t do: Put Doug Martin on the bench.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter had stuck with Martin, starting him Sunday even after Peyton Barber rushed for 102 yar...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

TAMPA — Dirk Koetter isn’t going to return as coach of the Bucs next season.That’s not official. No announcement has been made. No press conference is scheduled. It’s not an absolute fact. Not yet.And this isn’t a call for his job.It’s a prediction. ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lions-Buccaneers: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss

Lions-Buccaneers: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss

Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs’ 24-21 loss to the Lions on Sunday:28Seasons, out of 42, in which the Bucs have lost more games than they’ve won.81.8Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s completion percentage Sunday. He completed 36 of 44 pas...
Updated: 1 hour ago
All boxes checked on Lightning home stand sweep; now, back to the road

All boxes checked on Lightning home stand sweep; now, back to the road

TAMPA — You don’t often see a coach making shadow puppets on the wall with his hands at the start of his postgame news conference, but that’s where the Lightning is these days after sweeping a four-game home stand with Saturday night’s 4-3 overtime v...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

ST. PETERSBURG — In some ways, the Florida Orchestra’s gala with Sting looked like other concerts of a mega-star. Most of the fans who packed the Mahaffey Theater bought their tickets the day they went on sale. They cheered and sang along at the open...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs-Lions: Social media reaction from Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss

Bucs-Lions: Social media reaction from Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss

Matthew Stafford playing with a bad throwing hand completed 36 of 44 passes. The Bucs committed five turnovers. And yet..... Tampa Bay tied it late in the fourth quarter Sunday before Detroit drove for Matt Prater’s 46-yard field goal and a 24-21 vic...
Updated: 3 hours ago