Russian military positioned at Ukrainian border guard post in Crimea
Saturday, March 01, 2014 - 01:42
Mar.1 - Men wearing the uniform of Russia's Black Sea fleet and carrying automatic rifles are positioned by a Ukrainian border guard post in Sevastopol. Sarah Toms reports.
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Men wearing the uniform of Russia's Black Sea fleet, carrying automatic rifles, have taken up position outside a Ukrainian borderpost in the Crimean region.
It appears that the soldiers are blocking a unit of Ukrainian border guards in the Balaklava district of Sevastopol.
Russia's Black Sea fleet has a base in Sevastopol but Mosciow denies its forces have been involved in the mysterious movements across Crimea.
Armed men continued on Saturday to take over key buildings.
Here they can be seen taking up positions in the regional parliament of Crimea's capital, Simferopol.
This man is part of the group, he identifies himself as Sergei. He says he's a member of 'self-defence' militia.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MEMBER OF 'SELF-DEFENCE' MILITIA, SERGEI, SAYING:
"There were no incidents near the military base here. There was an attempt by a special unit to leave the base. But they couldn't give their reasons (for leaving). We allowed units to be dispatched from here to protect law and order but, we didn't allow people with heavy weapons to pass through and turned them around back to the base to ensure there were no incidents or conflicts. We turned them around to avoid incidents or conflicts. The residents of Simferopol and Crimea are looking at a peaceful resolution. That is why we are here."
The presence of an armed guard was unnerving for residents.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SIMFEROPOL RESIDENT EMINIA, SAYING:
"No, I don't like this. We did not feel protected from our authorities before and now there is just fear and panic. I don't understand how can one wake one morning to live under a Russian flag? I don't understand this."
On Friday men carrying assault rifles and machine guns took control of two airports.
Ukraine's interim interior minister says its an invasion and occupation by Russian forces.
Relations between the two countries have been strained since pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in February.
But the strain is particularly evident in Crimea -- Ukraine's only Russian-majority region, and the last bastion of opposition to Ukraine's new leadership.
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