Ukraine removes military from Crimea, demands release of naval commander
By End the Lie
[Mar 19, 2014]
Ukraine announced that they would pull their military forces out of Crimea while demanding the release of a naval commander after he was captured by armed men who seized a base in Sevastopol, Crimea, without resistance.
Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov warned that his country would take “appropriate measures” if Rear Admiral Sergei Haiduk and others are not released.
“If by 21:00 (local time) all provocations against Ukrainian troops are not ceased, and Admiral Haiduk and all other hostages, civilian and military, are not freed, the authorities will take appropriate measures,” Turchynov said in a statement, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The measures were not explained, though Turchynov said they would include ones “of a technical and technological nature.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said they would begin evacuating troops from Crimea, with head of the Ukrainian National Security Council Andriy Parubiy saying that demilitarization “is the best way to de-escalate the situation.”
“Troops from both Ukraine and Russia” should leave Crimea, Purubiy said to reporters in Kiev, according to a Bloomberg report.
Purubiy would not say when the evacuation would take place.
“We are working on a plan to quickly and effectively transport not only military servicemen but also their families to the territory of mainland Ukraine,” he said, according to NBC News.
Purubiy said that the Ukrainian ministry of foreign affairs has asked the United Nations to classify Crimea as a demilitarized zone and call for the removal of Russian troops from the region.
NBC reports that Purubiy said the country will hold military maneuvers with the signatories to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum without elaborating. The Russian Federation signed the memorandum, along with the U.S. and United Kingdom.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama said that Russia violated the memorandum by moving troops into Crimea.
However, Ukraine said they are going to reinforce troops patrolling the eastern regions of the country over concerns about Russia.
The Ukrainian government says that there are 22,000 Russian forces currently in Crimea along with civilian self-defense forces, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Russian parliament is reportedly finalizing legislation to formally absorb Crimea into the Russian Federation. The first Russian passports were also reportedly handed out to people in Crimea on Wednesday.
Senior Ukrainian officials said they plan to travel to Crimea as part of their effort to avert a further escalation of hostilities, but Crimean officials want no part of it, according to New York Daily News.
“They are not welcome in Crimea,” Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said, referring to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and defense minister. “They will not be allowed to enter in Crimea. They will be sent back.”
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