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Ukraine crisis

Bildt calls Yanukovych "Quisling"

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Vladimir Putin along with Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu (left). Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev/TT
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Ukrainian marines at the harbour in Sevastapol (left). Pro-Russian soldiers block the Ukrainian marine base Novooserne (right). Carl Bildt (inset). Photo: AP/TT

The situation in Ukraine was still very tense Tuesday morning as Russian troops that had engaged in military training along the Ukrainian border were pulled back to their bases, according to Vladimir Putin's press spokesperson.

Earlier, Russia's UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, told a Security Council meeting that deposed Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych had asked Moscow to send troops across the border. The news prompted a strong reaction from Sweden's minister for foreign affairs, Carl Bildt, who referred to Yanukovych as a "Quisling".

"So Ukraine now has got its own Quisling. Sitting on foreign soil begging a foreign army to give his country to him," Bildt wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian politician who backed Nazi Germany and was executed in October 1945. His name has since come to symbolise a national traitor collaborating with an occupation force.

Bildt admitted to news agency TT that his choice of words was not very diplomatic, but, he said, "you should call a spade a spade".

"This is a man without a political future and if you go to another country and say 'I want a foreign army to conquer my country', then there is word from that which springs from European history," Bildt said.

On Monday, the EU condemned Russia's "acts of aggression", calling on Moscow to recall its troops to their bases in Crimea. US President Barack Obama said Russia is on "the wrong side of history" and faces growing isolation for violating Ukraine's sovereignty.

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