FEODOSIA/SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine, March 24 (Reuters) – Ukraine
announced the evacuation of its troops and their families from
Crimea on Monday, effectively acknowledging defeat in the face
of Russian forces, who stormed one of the last remaining
Ukrainian bases on the peninsula.
Thousands of Ukrainian troops have been besieged on bases in
Crimea, offering no armed resistance but refusing to surrender,
since President Vladimir Putin declared Moscow’s right to
intervene at the start of the month.
THE HAGUE/FEODOSIA, Ukraine, March 24 (Reuters) – - U.S.
President Barack Obama began crisis talks with his European
allies on Monday after Ukraine announced the evacuation of its
troops from Crimea, effectively yielding the region to Russian
forces which stormed one of Kiev’s last bases there.
Obama, who has imposed tougher sanctions on Moscow than
European leaders over its seizure of the Black Sea peninsula,
will seek support for his firm line at a meeting with other
leaders of the G7 – a group of industrialised nations that
excludes Russia, which joined in 1998 to form the G8.
FEODOSIA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian troops forced their way into a Ukrainian marine base in the Crimean port city of Feodosia early on Monday, overrunning one of the few symbols of resistance left after Moscow wrestled the peninsula away from Kiev, defending soldiers inside said.
The Russians used stun grenades and fired automatic weapons as they charged in, a Ukrainian military official said. Ukrainian flags had been taken down from flagpoles inside the base.
BRUSSELS/FEODOSIA, Ukraine (Reuters) – NATO’s top military commander said on Sunday Russia had built up a “very sizeable” force on its border with Ukraine and Moscow may have a region in another ex-Soviet republic, Moldova, in its sights after annexing Crimea.
Russia was acting more like an adversary than a partner, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove said, and the 28-nation alliance should rethink the positioning and readiness of its forces in eastern Europe.
FEODOSIA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Their base has been overrun and their region annexed by Russia but the Ukrainian soldiers at Feodosia in Crimea are not giving up yet.
The Ukrainian flag and its marine standard fly alongside the Russian tricolor put up by the forces which seized the base of the 1st Separate Marine Battalion, Ukraine’s top military unit, earlier this month, as Russia took over the Black Sea peninsula.
BELBEK AIRBASE, Crimea (Reuters) – Russian troops used armored vehicles, automatic gunfire and stun grenades on Saturday to seize a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea a day after President Vladimir Putin signed laws completing Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.
Ukrainian forces also abandoned a naval base after attacks by pro-Russian protesters, and had to surrender two flagship vessels to Russian forces.
SIMFEROPOL, UKRAINE (Reuters) – As jubilant ethnic Russians celebrate Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian residents are mostly staying behind closed doors and some are packing their bags to leave the Black Sea peninsula.
In a small cafe in the old quarter of the regional capital Simferopol on Saturday, a group of Ukrainians gathered to watch Ukrainian news over the internet and to discuss their future.
SEVASTOPOL/PEREVALNOYE, Crimea (Reuters) – Unlike the unmarked masked soldiers who first seized Crimea three weeks ago, Russian paratroopers strolling across a field near the peninsula’s Perevalnoye military base, which they took over on Friday, wore their trademark blue berets and red star cockades.
In other parts of Crimea, Russian troops continued the takeover of Ukrainian positions.
SIMFEROPOL/SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Military personnel and residents in Crimea rushed to apply for Russian passports and drop their Ukrainian citizenship on Thursday, as Moscow tightened its grip on the Black Sea peninsula it wrested away from Kiev.
Crimea voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia in a weekend referendum, and while a narrow majority of the region’s 2 million population is Russian, many Ukrainians also supported the switch. Some did not, however, and intend to remain Ukrainian.
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine/MOSCOW (Reuters) – The United States warned Moscow it was on a “dark path” to isolation on Wednesday as Russian troops seized two Ukrainian naval bases, including a headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol where they raised their flag.
The dramatic seizure came as Russia and the West dug in for a long confrontation over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, with the United States and Europe groping for ways to increase pressure on a defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin.