News / Europe

Ukraine Gives Russia Ultimatum to Free Officers

Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, supply an armored personnel carrier (APC) in front of a Ukrainian marine base in the Crimean port city of Feodosia March 23, 2014.
Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, supply an armored personnel carrier (APC) in front of a Ukrainian marine base in the Crimean port city of Feodosia March 23, 2014.
Daniel SchearfSteve Herman
The government of Ukraine has given Russia an ultimatum to free Ukrainian generals and admirals who are being held in Crimea. The warning came at a press briefing by government officials in Kyiv on Monday.

In the meantime, Ukraine’s national security and defense secretary said more than 10,000 personnel are being ordered to mobilize.

The briefing comes as Russian troops early Monday stormed Ukraine's Feodosia navy base in Crimea with warning shots and stun grenades.

Ukrainian navy officers had been negotiating with the Russian side for an orderly withdrawal from the base but had not received orders from Kyiv.

Those orders came hours later when Ukraine called for all its remaining military in Crimea to withdraw to the mainland.

Navy officers Sunday had told Reuters TV they would defend the base to the end and that Russian military promised they would be allowed to leave with honor.

Ukraine Navy Captain Olexander Lantuhk  said they did not want to turn over armaments and ships to the Russians. He said they do not see any reason why they should leave their vessels and weapons. As soldiers, they are responsible for them, he added.

The navy base was one of the few left in Crimea remaining under the Ukrainian flag.

Russian troops, local militia, and pro-Russia mobs this month surrounded and took over many of Ukraine's military bases in Crimea, seizing ships and weapons.

Russian troops Saturday stormed two Ukrainian naval bases in Sevastopol and Novofedorovka and took control of a submarine and flagship.

They used armored personnel carriers (APCs) to break down a wall and gate at Ukraine's largest military hold-out, Belbek Air Force base. One Ukrainian sailor was reported injured.

Ukrainian navy Lieutenant Anatoly Mozgovoi on Sunday at Feodosia acknowledged Russia was now in control.

When asked about the plan for the base, he responded "you can see what has happened with Crimea". Currently the situation is de-facto.

Ukraine's interim government has ordered its troops to withdraw from Crimea.

Kyiv said Monday it is pulling out its troops in response to the annexation of Crimea by Russia.  Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said the defense ministry has been instructed to redeploy Ukrainian forces from the Black Sea peninsula.  He said the move is a response to threats by Russian forces on the lives of Ukrainian service members and their families.

As Ukraine announced its troop evacuation Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Russia's military headquarters in Sevastopol, where he reviewed troops and met with the former head of Ukraine's navy, Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky, who has switched allegiances and become a deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet. Ukrainian authorities have charged him with treason.

Romania's concerns

Romania's President Traian Basescu on Monday said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) must reposition its resources in the wake of Moscow's military operations in recent months, without offering specifics.
 
Romania, a former Communist state which joined the European Union in 2007, has been among the staunchest advocates of Western sanctions against Moscow, after Russia annexed the Ukrainian province of Crimea.
 
Romania is especially wary that its neighbor Moldova, a tiny state with a Russian-speaking minority, could be next in Moscow's sights.


Referendum

The aggressive moves follow a controversial March 16 referendum in Crimea that saw the vast majority there vote to become part of Russia. Moscow on Friday passed legislation making Crimea officially a part of the Russian Federation.

Ukraine, the European Union, and United States condemned the vote as an illegal and illegitimate land-grab. Moscow says its actions were necessary to protect ethnic Russians from alleged persecution by Kyiv's interim government, which it calls fascist and anti-Russian.

The tensions over Crimea are the worst between Russia and western nations since the end of the Cold War.

Western nations warned Russia against further moves on Eastern Ukraine where Simferpro-Russia populations are calling for similar referendums. Russian military has built up, and held recent drills, along the border with Ukraine raising concerns about further incursions.

Crimea's Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov on Sunday called for Russians in Ukraine to fight against the pro-western government in Kyiv. In a televised speech and in Facebook and Twitter comments, he said Southeastern Ukraine's future was a close union with the Russian Federation.

Ukraine's Kremlin-leaning President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine to Russia and was voted out of office after months of street protests in Kyiv turned violent.

The protests were sparked when Yanukovych abruptly pulled out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Crimea energy

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday international negotiations would be needed to secure supplies of energy and water to the region of Crimea.
 
“This issue needs to be decided through international negotiations,” Medvedev told a ministerial meeting, suggesting Russia may engage with Ukraine over the issue. “We need to choose the best way to supply the peninsula.”
 
Crimea receives around 80 percent of its electricity supplies, 85 percent of its water and a large part of gas from Ukraine, Medvedev said.

'Self-defense' forces

Crimean “self-defense” forces that helped Russia wrest the peninsula from Ukraine will be transformed into a national guard, a senior local security official said, arguing confidently that hostilities were over.
 
The militia, denounced by the Western-backed government in Kiev as Moscow-sponsored thugs, went hand in hand with Russian troops in recent days taking over military facilities in the region and raising the Russian tricolor.

Schearf is reporting from Sevastopol, Crimea, and Herman is reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine.

Error rendering storify.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Aegean.C from: Guangdong,China
March 26, 2014 11:49 AM
I think it is ok about the matter,we should listen the voice of the people of Crimea~


by: Sunny Enwerem from: Port Harcourt, Nigeria
March 25, 2014 2:56 AM
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday international negotiations would be needed to secure supplies of energy and water to the region of Crimea ??now I see this Russian government is sick,after ignoring the international community and claimed crimea they now ask them to intervain to legitimize their aggression??


by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
March 24, 2014 9:29 PM
It is OK to give ultimatum to free the generals and admirals. But who cares. It is better Ukraine seek the help of Red Cross to bring back the military personal from Crimea because those captured by Russia are prisoners of war. While about 60 thousand Russian soldiers are preparing to make a corridor to Maldova, Ukraine's military is helpless. Ukraine cannot expect any military assistance from the US, EU or NATO because Ukraine is isolated at the borders of Russia without any military access directly from any NATO country. Hence Ukraine cannot be defended. Even if Russia occupy the eastern part of Ukraine or Maldova, Ukraine cannot expect any military support from NATO or US or EU except some rhetoric and minor economic sanctions. US and EU countries don't want severe economic sanctions against Russia because it will end up as a self inflicted wound on their economies.

In Response

by: Watchman from: USA
March 27, 2014 3:40 AM
Davis: Sorry, but this comment is actually for the "anonymous reply to your comment so here goes...Start a war with the buggest nuclear power next to us? IF Putin violated international laws??? You are joking I hope. We have overthrown so many countries in the last couple decades than I can list. We spent 5B overthrowing the Ukraine gov't, putting in our own and Russia FINALLY said enough. Quit listening to the MSM and understand the facts. There's a lot out there to find. Russia overthrew NOTHING! Besides, all of these alignments are playing out like a Strataverias (spllng?) to the plan God laid out In Isaiah, Ezekial 38-39, Daniel, Revelation, Tons of prophecy in your news every day. Jesus is coming and I am sounding the trumpet as the watchman on the wall...Ez. 3 and 33. Look it up. Choose Life in Christ or die. Blowing the trumpet....

In Response

by: Anonymous
March 25, 2014 3:14 AM
There should immediatly be an international force of 10,000 flown in to the ukraine. Many of which american ,canadian, and british. This will help secure things. If "putin" wants to start a war he will be in serious trouble.

If putin truely did break intrrnational laws an arrest warrant for him must be implemented.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid