Ukraine faces loss of navy as Russian forces in Crimea dig in
Saturday, March 08, 2014 - 01:31
March 8 - Russian forces block Ukraine's only exit point to the Black Sea by sinking two aging vessels, as the crisis in Crimea intensifies. Jillian Kitchener reports.
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Wind whips across Crimea's biggest lake, as Ukraine's warships rise and fall in the choppy waves.
Russian forces have blocked Ukraine's only exit point to the Black Sea by sinking two aging vessels here.
And a well-armed Russian missile cruiser sits a short distance off the coast.
A third of Ukraine's warships are left stranded in the waters close to land, as Russian forces have blocked their only exit point to the Black Sea.
Ukraine is now facing a humiliating loss of its navy.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) VADIM FILIPENKO, THE UKRAINIAN DEPUTY COMMANDER, SAYING:
"We are not going to fight, we hope it will be resolved in a peaceful way. If the Crimea will go to Russia, it is all right, we will go to serve [Ukraine] in the other locations."
Meanwhile, Ukraine's naval headquarters in Sevastopol -- the same port where Russia's Black Sea Fleet is based -- remains under virtual siege by Russian soldiers and pro-Russian activists.
Crimea's parliament speaker says the region does not trust international observers.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) СRIMEA'S PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, VLADIMIR KONSTANTINOV, SAYING:
"Here, in our autonomous republic, we have a severe allergy to all these observers, because they definitely sided with the other party. They are accomplices of what has been done to Ukraine."
This comes after warning shots were fired to prevent an unarmed international military observer mission from entering Crimea.
Tempers have flared in the last two days, since the region's pro-Moscow leadership declared it part of Russia and announced a March 16 referendum to confirm it.
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