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Ukraine raising new national guard to counter Russian aggression in Crimea

In response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, Ukraine is raising a new national guard among military veterans to counter it.

A member of a pro Russian self-defense unit, right, stands close to Russian Army soldiers outside of the Ukrainian Army base in Perevalnoe. (AP) A member of a pro Russian self-defense unit, right, stands close to Russian Army soldiers outside of the Ukrainian Army base in Perevalnoe. (AP)

Ukraine will raise a new national guard force among military veterans in response to Russian attempts to annex Crimea, the acting president told parliament on Tuesday.

Oleksander Turchinov said mismanagement of the armed forces under his ousted predecessor meant that the Ukrainian military had to be rebuilt “effectively from scratch”. The acting defence minister said the country had only 6,000 combat-ready infantry compared to over 200,000 Russian troops on its eastern borders.

Turchinov, who warned against provoking further Russian action, said the National Security and Defence Council decided to establish a National Guard, using the existing Interior Ministry forces as a base. The goal would be “to defend citizens from criminals and from internal or external aggression”.

A partial mobilisation of volunteers drawn from those with previous military experience would begin, he said.

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