March 22, 2014
Shooting and explosions have been heard as Russian troops backed by armoured vehicles stormed a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea. Reports say at least one person was injured during the assault on Belbek base, near Sevastopol. The base is now said to be under Russian control. Earlier, several hundred unarmed protesters seized a Ukrainian naval base at Novofedorivka, western Crimea. Pro-Russian militia have also been seizing Ukrainian navy ships. The BBC’s Ian Pannell, in Crimea, says the Ukrainian troops on the peninsula feel beleaguered and abandoned by their commanders in Ukraine. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law formalising Russia’s takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, despite fresh sanctions from the EU and the US.