The NATO alliance and Russia have agreed to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine at a special meeting on Wednesday.
The alliance announced that an extraordinary NATO-Russia council will convene at the suggestion of alliance secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Russia agreed to the meeting on Tuesday, when NATO ambassadors were further discussing the crisis among themselves.
Rasmussen has said Russia's military intervention in Ukraine is in violation of the U.N. charter and threatens peace and security in Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow reserves the right to use its military to protect Russians there but voiced hope it won't need to do so.
Russia took over the Crimean peninsula on Saturday, placing its troops around the region's military bases and border posts.
Russia's state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom says it will cancel a price discount for natural gas supplies to Ukraine.
Gazprom chief Alexei Miller said Tuesday in televised remarks that Ukraine has accumulated a $1.5-billion debt for Russian gas supplies. He added at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that Gazprom will cancel a price rebate for Ukraine starting April 1.
Russia offered the discounted price and a $15-billion bailout to Ukraine in December following President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to ditch a pact with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.