Russian military surround Ukrainian border guard post in Crimea

BALAKLAVA, Ukraine Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:02am EST

1 of 3. Armed Russian navy servicemen surround a Ukrainian border guard base in Balaclava, in the Crimea region February 28, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

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BALAKLAVA, Ukraine (Reuters) - At least 20 men wearing the uniform of Russia's Black Sea fleet and carrying automatic rifles surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post on Friday, in a tense standoff near the port city of Sevastopol in Ukraine's Crimea region.

A Reuters reporter in the Balaklava district saw Ukrainian border police in helmets and riot gear shut inside the border post, with a metal gate pulled shut and metal riot shields placed behind the windows as protection.

A servicemen who identified himself as an officer of the Black Sea Fleet told Reuters: "We are here ... so as not to have a repeat of the Maidan."

He was referring to Kiev's Independence Square, the cradle of a popular uprising that ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.

The servicemen's presence appeared to confirm the veracity of a statement by the Ukrainian border guard service that Russian servicemen were blocking off a unit of Ukrainian border guards in Balaklava.

Russia's Black Sea fleet has a base in Sevastopol but Moscow

denies its forces have been involved in the rapidly changing events in Crimea, where armed men took control of two airports earlier on Friday.

Russia says it has not violated an agreement on the movement of its military in Crimea.

Yanukovich appeared at a news conference in Russia on Friday but did not seek Russian military intervention in Ukraine following his ouster last Saturday.

"I think any military action in this situation is unacceptable," he said. "I have no plan to ask for military support."

He said Crimea, the only region in Ukraine with an ethnic Russian majority, should remain part of the country.

Some ethnic Russians want Russia to reclaim Crimea, gifted to then Soviet Ukraine in 1954 by Soviet Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev.

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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Comments (2)
UScitizentoo wrote:
(Ras)Putin had engineered the Ukrainian government destruction by his puppets. (Ras)Putin has invaded Ukraine. He said he would control or destroy Ukrainian government – and he did so. He said he will take crimea – and he is doing so. Ukrainians should now understand that (Ras)Putin is the mortal enemy of the Ukraine.

Feb 28, 2014 12:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
D_Right_One wrote:
No further bloodshed YET. Russia wants a cold war border around itself. It still fears and distrusts the West(and it’s neighbor to the East).

Mar 01, 2014 7:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
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