– Russian Troops Storm Ukraine Air Force Base In Crimea, Reuters Confirms (ZeroHedge, March 7, 2014):
Update 2: ARMED ATTACKERS LEAVE UKRAINE MILITARY BASE IN SEVASTOPOL: TV5
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Update, and this time from Reuters:
- ARMED MEN ENTER UKRAINIAN MILITARY POST IN CRIMEA AND TAKE CONTROL, NO SHOTS FIRED – REUTERS REPORTER ON THE SCENE
- UKRAINIANS AND FORCES THOUGHT TO BE RUSSIANS HOLD NEGOTIATIONS AFTER MILITARY POST TAKEN, NO ARMS SEIZED – REUTERS REPORTER
– Russian soldiers storm Ukrainian military base in Crimea (Haaretz, March 7, 2014):
Russian troops on Friday stormed a Ukranian military base 5 kilometers from the Ukranian city Sevastopol, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimean peninsula. No shots have been fired.
– Russian Troops in Crimea Storm Ukrainian Base (TIME, March 7, 2014):
Russian troops reportedly launched an attack on a Ukrainian base outside the Crimean port city of Sevastopol—risking a dangerous escalation of the present crisis
Russian troops began storming a Ukrainian military base on the Crimean peninsula soon after dark on Friday, ramming the gates with a truck and rushing inside, a Colonel of the Ukrainian air force tells TIME. Within two hours, the Russian forces managed to seize part of the Ukrainian air force base at the edge of Sevastopol, the city that also houses Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet.
“The attack is on,” says Colonel Viktor Kukharchenko, the deputy commander of another Ukrainian air force base in Crimea. “The Russian forces are now trying to take the rest of the base. Their commander is negotiating with our forces, demanding they lay down their arms and surrender.” He said he was not aware any shots being fired in the course of the attack. A spokesman for Ukraine’s defense ministry confirmed that the A-2355 base outside Sevastopol had been stormed by Russian troops late in the evening on Friday, adding that it houses a tactical aviation command center responsible for anti-aircraft defenses. He also said there were about 100 Ukrainian soldiers posted inside the base.
Kukharchenko said that the force attempting to seize the base includes Russian servicemen who are not wearing any identifying insignia, as they have refused to do throughout the weeklong occupation of Crimea by Russian forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that his military has been surrounding Ukrainian bases in Crimea since the end of February, even though the vehicles of the occupying force have Russian license plates and some of its officers have told reporters they are from Russia.
Apart from the Russian troops, various paramilitary forces are involved in the ongoing siege, says Kukharchenko. “There are armed Cossacks there and some of these so-called citizens’ self-defense forces,” he says. Ukrainian media reports that about 15 trucks of Russian servicemen arrived on Friday night from a Russian warship docked at the base of the Black Sea fleet. Kukharchenko said he could not confirm those reports.
Before Friday’s attack, Russian forces have been satisfied to surround all of the Ukrainian bases in Crimea and block their servicemen inside. Even without further reinforcements from Russia’s Black Sea fleet, this raid would mark a radical escalation toward war between Russia and Ukraine.