March 7th, 2014
08:26 PM ET

Media crackdown reported in Crimea as Putin tightens grip on region

President Obama called a major ally Friday tonight to help bring Russian President Vladimir Putin back from the brink.

The White House just announced that the President spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany is the biggest buyer of Russian natural gas, making Merkel the most critical player when it comes to putting pressure on Putin.

There are no signs that Russia is backing down tonight. Leaders of Russia's Parliament say they would support a vote by Crimeans to split from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, despite repeated warnings and threats of sanctions from the U.S.

Ukrainian authorities also say the Russian navy has sunk another one of its ships, using the wreckage to block the Ukranian navy from leaving their Crimean ports.

There has also been a major crackdown on the media. At least two Ukrainian TV channels have had their signals blocked, and the head of one of those channels says Russian state TV is now being broadcast instead.

There is also dramatic new video of a Bulgarian journalist being beaten by unidentified masked men, one of whom put a gun to his head. 

CNN's Anna Coren, who is on the ground in Crimea, was temporarily forced to stop broadcasting.

Filed under: International • Military • Russia • Ukraine
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