Pro-Russian Forces Storm Ukrainian Base in Crimea

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

BELBEK AIR BASE, Crimea (AP) Pro-Russian forces are now in control of a Ukrainian air force base in Crimea.

The pro-Russian forces fired shots and smashed through the front gate and concrete walls of the Belbek base near the port city of Sevastopol with armored personnel carriers on Saturday.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry says one reporter and a Ukrainian soldier were injured in the raid.

It's the last major Ukrainian military facility in Crimea to fall into the hands of pro-Russian forces.

After the takeover, the base commander called together his men, who sang the Ukrainian national anthem and then stood at ease. He then told his men to put their weapons in the base's armory.

Russian forces have been seizing Ukrainian military facilities for several days in the Black Sea peninsula, which voted a week ago to secede and join Russia.

Elsewhere, more than 5,000 pro-Russia residents of Donetsk in Ukraine's east have been demonstrating in favor of holding a referendum on whether to split off and join Russia.

Russia has moved large military contingents to areas near the Ukrainian border, though Moscow has said it has no intention of moving into eastern Ukraine.

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