Ukraine defence minister heading to Crimea 'urgently'

Ukrainian Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh was urgently heading to Crimea on Wednesday in a bid to ease tensions after Russia claimed the peninsula, the government said.

"Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told Igor Tenyukh and (First Deputy Prime Minister) Vitaliy Yarema to visit Crimea to resolve the situation and stop the escalation," said minister without portfolio Ostap Semerak.

"They are about to leave" for the strategic Black Sea peninsula, he said in a statement.