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Russians Capture One of the Last Ukrainian Strongholds in Crimea

Posted on Mar 22, 2014

    A Russian soldier controls Ukrainain airmen at the Belbek airbase after Russian troops took it under control outside Sevastopol, Crimea, on Saturday. Photo by AP/Ivan Sekretarev

On Saturday, Russian forces took over a military base near the Sevastopol airport in Crimea, using armored vehicles to smash through the gates before firing shots into the air and demanding the surrender of the soldiers inside.

The assault wounded at least one Ukrainian soldier. The move appeared to be an attempt to solidify Russia’s hold on Crimea after it formally annexed the region.

The New York Times reported:

By early evening, the Russians were in negotiations to force the approximately 150 Ukrainian soldiers to leave the base, one of Ukraine’s biggest in Crimea. The Russians had issued an ultimatum earlier in the day demanding the Ukrainians leave.

The news came amid high tensions in Crimea after a referendum last weekend in which residents, under the watch of Russian soldiers who had already moved into the region, voted to secede from Ukraine. A spokesman for the Ukrainian military in Crimea said Russian troops earlier Saturday had taken a base at Novofyodorovka, near the city of Saki.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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