Russian troops seize Ukraine marine base in Crimea -officer

by Reuters
Monday, 24 March 2014 03:51 GMT

(Updates with base taken over, comment from officer on base)

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine, March 24 (Reuters) - Russian troops took over a Ukrainian marine base in Feodosia early on Monday, one of the few military facilities that was still flying a Ukrainian flag in Crimea after Russia's annexation, a Ukrainian serviceman said.

First Lieutenant Anatoly Mozgovoy told Reuters on the phone from inside the base that there were shots fired and that the Ukrainian soldiers were unarmed. Asked if the base had been taken over, he said: "Yes".

Vladislav Seleznyov, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea, earlier said Russian forces had been forcing their way in and were assisted by helicopters.

Russian forces captured part of the base of the 1st Separate Marine Battalion, Ukraine's top military unit, earlier this month, as Russia was seizing all of the Black Sea peninsula.

But Ukrainians had previously appeared to be in control of the armoury, the barracks and other facilities within the compound. (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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