2014-03-19 18:08:16

Pro-Russian forces seize Ukraine navy base in Crimea

(Vatican Radio) Pro- Russian forces have seized control of the Ukrainian naval headquarters in the Crimean capital of Sevastopol. Around a dozen Ukrainian navy personnel afterwards walked out of the base. The seizure came a day after Crimea signed a treaty to become part of Russia.

Regional Correspondent Stefan Bos reports that the latest incident has added to concerns that more Ukrainian troops will be forced to leave the region.

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A dozen Ukrainian servicemen have walked out of the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea’s Sevastopol port after the base was taken over by pro-Russian forces.

Activists also entered the base, where they replaced Ukrainian flags with Russian ones.

The attack in Sevastopol came a day after Crimean leaders signed a treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin absorbing the peninsula into Russia, following a disputed referendum.

Later, the head of the Russian Black Sea Fleet entered the Sevastopol navy base encouraged by an enthusiastic crowd.

"Russia, Russia," many people shouted and making clear they view remaining Ukrainian forces as occupiers.


Amid the tense stand-off, Pro-Russian activists removed Ukrainian artefact's from the complex.

Soon, masked men could be seen guarding the Ukrainian naval force base, prompting a dozen Ukrainian servicemen to leave.

"There was nothing we could do. There was a takeover with a huge crowd" this Ukrainian serviceman says.

Elsewhere, a 17-year-old boy was detained over the deadly shooting of a Ukrainian officer in Crimea’s main city Simferopol on Tuesday.

Amid the turmoil Ukraine's interim government gave its forces permission to shoot in self defence, while Ukrainian Defense Minister Ihor Tenyuk said his country's forces would not withdraw. But with thousands of pro-Russian soldiers already in control of Crimea, it appeared unlikely that Ukrainian forces would be able to stay much longer

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