SA keeping an eye on Ukraine

Around 15,000 Russian troops are reportedly in Crimea urging Ukrainian forces to surrender.

The South African government has called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says it's gravely concerned about the latest developments in Ukraine and has called for a diplomatic solution.

As tensions rise in Crimea in the Ukraine, world leaders fear Russia's military presence in the area will lead to war.

There are reportedly 15,000 Russian troops in Crimea demanding Ukrainian forces surrender and hand over their weapons.

On Saturday Russia's parliament accepted President Vladimir Putin's request for military intervention in the Ukraine to defuse the threat facing Russians living there.

Ukraine has been plagued by anti-government protests since November last year, with tension forming between those who are pro-Russian and those who side with the west.

The violence caused Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych to flee.

The department's Clayson Monyela says, "The South African government is gravely concerned about the unfolding political situation in Ukraine and consistent with South Africa's foreign policy, we favour and promote peaceful resolution of conflicts."