TREASURIES-Prices up on Ukraine unrest
* Turmoil in Ukraine spurs safety buying
* The Fed to buy $3.50 bln- $4.25 bln in debt maturing in 2018
* Traders look to Yellen to clarify impact of soft data on Taper
NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries debt prices inched up on Thursday as tensions in Ukraine and Russia spurred safety buying, but investors remained cautious ahead of comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on recent economic data.
Yellen, in testimony before a Senate banking committee, said some data had been softer but it was hard to say how much because of the weather.
Tensions over Ukraine grew overnight, with Russia's Defense Ministry quoted as saying fighter jets along its western borders have been put on alert, a day after it called a snap military exercise of 150,000 troops.
"Overall earlier this morning, there has been the escalation of the crisis in the Ukraine, which prompted risk-off trades in treasuries," said Justin Lederer, an interest rate strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York.
The opening remarks Yellen prepared for the Senate Banking Committee are identical to ones she delivered before the House of Representatives on February 11. Still, investors are looking for clarification during the question and answer session on whether recent soft U.S. economic news will impact the pace of the Fed's trimming of its bond-buying program.
Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods excluding transportation unexpectedly rose last month yet other data on Thursday showed an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits last week.
Ten-year notes were up 8/32 in price, sending yields down to 2.641 percent, the lowest since February 7. Thirty-year bonds were up 21/32 in price, pushing yields down to 3.600 percent from Wednesday's close of 3.635 percent.
The Fed will buy $3.50 billion to $4.25 billion in debt maturing in 2018 as part of its continued bond buying program.