Summary: Russian troops are storming a Ukrainian military base in Simferopol, and one Ukrainian soldier has been wounded and one killed in the attack. It quoted an officer at the military topography and navigation centre as saying that its commander has been captured and the rest of the troops have barricaded themselves in on the first floor of a building at the base. Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk has called the incident a war crime. Sources indicate that all Ukrainian troops have surrendered. The Ministry of Defense has given the OK to Ukrainian troops to return fire.
The killed was ensign S. Kakurin, who was shot in the heart, and wounded was Captain V. Fedun, who was shot in the neck, and another soldier was shot in the legs.
“In the windows of the houses near the base are Russian snipers. According to our records, this time one person is injured,” said a Ukrainian official. Rear Admiral Serhiy Haiduk said in a statement that during the shootout, an officer received two bullet wounds to the leg, and the wounds were not life threatening. He also said that Russian troops were advancing on the Feodosia garrison. “At this time, the kidnapping of five officers has been recorded. Two officers we were able to return, and three are held by the so-called “self-defense of the Crimea,” said Haiduk.
Ed Flanagan of NBC also reported the incident of shots being fired in Simferopol in a series of tweets. He described 15 heavily armed soldiers running around front, carrying shotguns. He then said that local officials were keeping the press at bay. A public bus arrived with two vans, and troops entered into the vans along with plain clothes men. After the bus pulled back, armed men with 50 caliber sniper rifles and shotguns were seen taking positions around, and later entering the installation. Ben Brown of BBC reported that bursts of automatic fire were heard.
Then, local resistance (Crimea SOS) citing the Ukrainian defense spokesman Vladislav Seleznev, said that one soldier was killed after the storming of the base in Novofedorovka. This report was confirmed by Reuters and Interfax. “One person was killed during the assault 13 FIZ. This Ukrainian soldier was on duty in the park area. Wounded were sent to the hospital emergency room in Simferopol” – he wrote on his page on the social network Facebook. “One Ukrainian servicemen was wounded in the neck and collarbone, now we are barricaded on the second floor of the production building. They are demanding to they lay down their weapons, but we will not give up,” – said the representative of the MOD.
It was then uncovered that at least 1 had been killed in the attack. “Our sources said besides the wounded, one Ukrainian soldier is deceased during the assault in Simferopol. Confirmation of the death comes from three different sources,” said an official.
At 17:54 local time, in a joint statement of acting president Turchynov and PM Yatsenyuk, the two declared that Crimea had escalated from a political to a military conflict.
“Today the Russian military began to shoot at Ukrainian soldiers , and this is a war crime…Therefore, we should immediately convene a Joint Commission at the level of the Ministries of Defense of Ukraine, USA, UK and Russia, as members of the Budapest Memorandum. Address the issue of preventing further escalation of the military conflict and initiate a political dialogue on the restoration of the rights of the Ukrainian state and to stop violations of international law of the Russian Federation ”
– Prime Minister Yatsenyuk
Ed Flanagan then reported that a Ukrainian military spokesman told him all men on base were arrested and their weapons taken, and the wounded captain taken to hospital for treatment.
Russian MP Vladimir Garnachuk spun the events so as to blame Ukraine, saying ‘Maidan’ activists ‘bombarded’ the base, and were responsible for the shootings, and to ‘not believe the propaganda. Despite claims in Russian media that unknown gunmen attacked both sides, photo evidence from the scene shows Russian military clearly operating in the area, detaining Ukrainian soldiers. The Guardian has posted pictures of what are clearly Russian troops outside the military base. One shows a soldier standing guard outside the Ukrainian Navy headquarters in Simferopol, one shows Russian soldiers actively taking part in the military operation.
Minstry OKs soldiers to open fire
The Ministry of Defence has allowed the military to use weapons in Crimea as a result of the assault.”According to the decision of the Acting Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Acting Minister of Defence of Ukraine, on the basis of the order of General Staff Chief of the Armed Forces, Ukraine, Ukraine’s Armed Forces military units stationed Crimea, allowed the use of arms,” said the statement issued by ministry. The decision was made to protect soldiers in connection with the death of the ensign in Simferopol.