Russian Military Forces Occupy Bases In Ukraine
As tensions in the Ukraine boils over in the Crimean peninsula, Russian troops are slowly occupying more military bases, army warehouses and administrative buildings throughout the former Soviet satellite.
Russian military officials reportedly commanded Ukrainian troops not to resist the occupation and avoid armed attacks, the newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda reported. On Sunday, Ukrainian troops blocked the entrance to the base preparing for defense, but no shots were reportedly fired.
Police riot forces, members of former “Berkut” special police forces, are moving to Crimea from other cities to support their troops, according to NewsRu.com.
Sevastopol, a tourist destination and the navy base of a Russian Black Sea fleet, had Russian armored personnel carriers surround the city over the weekend, according to Ukrainskaya Pravda.
“Today it feels like the spring is coming,” said George Grigoriev, a pro-Russian resident of Sevastopol. “The Russian spring.”
Grigoriev said the Ukrainian troops are “demoralized and depressed.” Some military bases have not enough food supplies, witnesses say. However, all services are reportedly still functioning well, except for banks that aren't allowing money transfers.
Last week, Sevastopol elected a new mayor, Aleksey Chaliy, who is of Russian citizenship. The new mayor called Russia for financial support to help pay pensions and wages for government workers. The population, predominantly of Russian ethnicity, gathered on weekend in Nakhimov Square, the city's center, for a peaceful demonstration to show their support for Russian troops.
“Everyone is very excited, said Nina Petrov, a Sevastopol resident. “People are for joining Russia, without war, of course.”
Last week, the Ukrainian government called citizens for conscription, a mandatory enlistment in the national military service.
Elena Veligan, a mother of two had recently invested money in purchasing a new land with her husband Nikolay for growing strawberries. A few days ago, however, Nikolay was called to join Ukrainian military forces.
“It’s a tremendous pressure on our family,” Veligan said. “He just became a farmer, but know he has to go for the possible war. It’s heartbreaking.”
Reach Staff Reporter Olga here.