Russian troops opened fire at Crimea base -Interfax

Russian forces consolidated their hold on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula on Monday, taking over a military hospital and a missile base as officials geared up for a referendum on the region's future

Russian troops opened fire at Crimea base -Interfax

World Bulletin/News Desk

Armed men fired in the air as they moved into a Ukrainian naval post in Crimea on Monday, a Ukrainian defence official in the region was quoted as saying by local media.

Ukraine's Channel 5 television quoted Vladislav Seleznyov as saying the shooting, a rare occurrence since Russian forces took over the Black Sea peninsula a week ago, took place in mid-afternoon at a motor pool base near Bakhchisaray.

On his Facebook page, Seleznyov said about 10 "unidentified armed men" in two minibuses drove into the compound and demanded Ukrainian personnel there give them 10 trucks.

Earlier, Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted an unnamed Ukrainian official describing the men as Russian troops and saying that none of the Ukrainians at the site was injured in the shooting.

Moscow, which has a major naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea, has denied that uniformed units, wearing no insignia, which have taken control of the region are from its military forces - a denial ridiculed in Kiev and by Western governments.

Crimean leaders who took power after Ukraine's pro-Moscow president was overthrown in Kiev have called a referendum for Sunday to unite the region with Russia.

Officials could not immediately be contacted and it was unclear whether the confrontation at Bakhchisaray had ended.

In the port of Sevastopol, Russian soldiers disarmed servicemen at a Ukrainian army missile base, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea said.

Vladislav Seleznyov told Fifth Channel television that about 200 soldiers aboard 14 trucks moved on the building at about 1.30 a.m(1130 GMT) and threatened to storm it if the Ukrainian soldiers failed to give up their weapons.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told President Vladimir Putin on Monday that Russia's position on Ukraine was at odds with the West, and that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had declined an invitation to visit Russia for further talks.

At a meeting with Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Lavrov described being handed proposals by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry which "did not completely satisfy us".

"It is all being formulated as if there was a conflict between Russia and Ukraine ... and our partners suggested using the situation created by a coup as a starting point," he told Putin, adding that the West wanted Russia and the United States to bring their positions together.

Russia says any solution to the standoff over Ukraine should be based on an EU-brokered agreement signed by ousted President Viktor Yanukovich on Feb. 21, which would see constitutional reform and elections by December.

"Along with the Security Council of Russian Federation, we prepared our own proposals aimed at returning the situation into the framework of international law, to honour the interests of all Ukrainians, given the deep governmental crisis in Ukraine," Lavrov said

When Putin asked his foreign minister to report on his contacts with EU and U.S. officials, Lavrov said he had invited Kerry for talks in Russia on Monday on the president's instructions. He said Kerry had called back on Saturday to say he wanted to postpone such a meeting.

Last Mod: 10 Mart 2014, 18:08
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