Mar. 18 - Volunteers train to join Ukraine National Guard as defence chiefs admit the army is out of shape. Paul Chapman reports
Ukraine is training thousands of volunteers to join the National Guard in response to Russia's attempts to annex Crimea. The mass training programme follows an admission by Ukraine's army chiefs that the military is in poor shape, outgunned and outnumbered by Russian forces. A plan to call up 40, 000 reservists as well was approved by the Ukraine parliament on Monday The country's interior minister says it's not about war, it's a question of protection. (SOUNDBITE)(Russian) ARSEN AVAKOV, UKRAINIAN INTERIOR MINISTER, SAYING: "In the next few days Ukraine will have a combat-ready unit which doesn't want to fight but will have a firm intention to protect the borders of Ukraine, to protect the borders of this country. Glory to Ukraine." Japan's become the latest nation to impose sanctions after Russia on Tuesday said it recognised Crimea as a sovereign state following its referendum to split from Ukraine. Tokyo announced the suspension of talks on investment pacts and relaxation of visa requirements. The move followed sanctions by the U.S and European Union imposed on Russian and Ukrainian officials blamed for Moscow's military incursion into Crimea. But some analysts like Paul J. Saunders of the U.S. Center for the National Interest says such sanctions won't have much effect. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PAUL J. SAUNDERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR THE NATIONAL INTEREST, SAYING: "Well frankly I think it's going to have little impact. It's mainly a symbolic gesture, you know, we have to remember that Congress passed 15 months ago legislation that gave the administration the ability to seize assets and ban visas." Washington and Brussels have warned of further steps in the coming days if Russia goes ahead with formal annexation of Crimea.