News / Europe

Russian Forces Seize VOA Cameras

Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, stand guard at a military airbase in the Crimean town of Belbek near Sevastopol, Mar. 22, 2014.
Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, stand guard at a military airbase in the Crimean town of Belbek near Sevastopol, Mar. 22, 2014.
VOA News
Russian troops in Crimea have seized cameras belonging to the Voice of America near the Belbek military base, where Ukrainian troops were ordered to surrender Saturday by Russian forces.

VOA reporter Daniel Schearf said he and his crew were videotaping Russian armored personnel carriers and other vehicles outside the base when two cameras were seized.

He said Russian soldiers jumped out of their vehicles like a "swat team" and ordered the VOA crew at gunpoint to give up the cameras. He said the soldiers were "very aggressive and very rude," but were under orders to stop media from capturing images of the Russian military outside the base.

Russian forces issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian troops to vacate the base, one of the largest holdouts of Ukrainian military forces in Crimea.

"They were clearly under orders to stop any media from videotaping, from getting any images of what they were doing outside the base, and the reason for that became apparent later when we saw that the Russian military had issued an ultimatum to the Ukrainian side, to the Ukrainian soldiers and the commander we had interviewed earlier in the day, that they are to vacate the base. And so they're putting intense pressure now coming down to the wire. Moscow wants to get them out of here," he said.

Schearf said he was uncertain whether Russian forces gave the Ukrainians a deadline to vacate the Belbek base. But he said if the Ukrainian troops do not leave, Russian soldiers will eventually "make a move" on the facility, which is near the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol.

"Sooner or later whether the Ukrainian soldiers like it or not, the Russians are going to make a move and the Ukrainian side has said very clearly that they are not going to leave. They are going to remain loyal to their post until they receive orders otherwise, and they are armed, they do have weapons inside of course. It's a military base, so there is that potential that this could really get out of control, that an armed conflict could take place," he said.

Schearf said Russian troops had promised to return the cameras they seized Saturday, but several hours later the cameras had not been given back. He said all of the video recorded on the cameras will likely be erased.

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by: Oleg from: Moscow
March 26, 2014 2:21 PM
Today I heard the chattering of two young Russian women and learned a great secret, they said that Italy, Spain and Greece despite EU sanctions towards Russia gives and will be giving the entry visas to these countries for the Russians. It was said that all country will be banning the Russin from giving them the visas, but only these 3 countries will be giving the entry-visas to Russians in spite of the global ban. Also, I learned that those two Russian women seem to have bypassed the embassy in granting the visas because it was done through the Russian firms. Why is it so necessary - to make exceptions for pretty but stuped Russian women? Who needs these Russian prostitutes in Europe? I think no one wants them any longer. Stop this channel of gelivering the Russian women and other Russians into Europe through the Mediterranean countries - Greece, Italy and Spain. These country must be determined on which side the governments of these countries have been - with the EU or with aggressive Russia. That is the question.


by: Valeria from: Ukraine
March 23, 2014 2:47 PM
Simply compare Putin's and Hitler's speech.You'll notice a 80% of similarity.Do you think,they protect us ? What a nonsense !I live in the East of Ukraine.Me,my friends and all the people in this area speak Russian.And no one forbids(or used to forbid) us to speak this language.If they don't stop Putler-we'll have the Third world war.Then 'll be too late to discuss who's right and who's wrong.I have a lot of relatives in Russia.And I like people,but hate the government.Russia's real aggressor.Today -Crime,tomorrow-East Ukraine,the day after tomorrow-the whole Ukraine and then Estonia,Belarus,Poland...Really,why not ?

In Response

by: Oleg from: Moscow
March 26, 2014 2:25 PM
You are absolutely right. Russia of today is the more fascist state that any other state there in Europe. But personally I think that all that is happening because the US and the EU did not stop Putin in 2008, when Russian troops in just the same way as today’s military invasion were occupying the territory of Abkhazia. If NATO had sent troops and had given a crushing rebuff to Russian troops in the past, this what is happening now in the Crimea would never been possible today. Never. Obviously, Putin is using the same strategy and tactics, as it was used during the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. If Putin would be able to carry out his plans in the Crimea as he was able to do in 2008 in Abchazia, so in 5 years Russia might be attacking the Baltic countries, or who knows which country would be the next target of the amuck KGB-st. From now on the Europe must be prepared for the further attack of Putin.


by: AAR from: Global
March 23, 2014 3:40 AM
Russia has turned the Black sea into a Russian lake and the Crimea has been turned intoa Russian vacation resort and a sphere of of influence for their Southern fleet.....VOA and ABC news reporters have been harrassed and threatened today....The USA and the West and others must takea stand now for freedom and the people (Tartars) ofthe Crimea and the Ukraine now!


by: Ruslan from: Russia
March 22, 2014 4:57 PM
oh these Russians to conquer the world, they seized Crimea... poor democratic Ukraine suffering from the Russian aggression, poor Crimean people forced to vote for joining Russia under the guns... uh terrible story! - what a shame???!!! and how primitive you are... Wag the dog - a never ending story...


by: Marietta Alexander from: Everett, Washington
March 22, 2014 3:18 PM
This is going to get ugly very fast. Putin is out to conquer the world not just the former countries from the Soviet Union days. Unfortunately, feel Snowden told Putin and the Russian military a heck of a lot; exactly what they wanted to know about U.S. intelligence and defense. The population of this country has no idea the danger to our way of life posed by the awakened Russian Bear. I fear a surprise attack that knocks out all our defense systems first and then descends upon us. I hope I am wrong!

In Response

by: Ekaterina from: Russia Moscow
March 24, 2014 7:56 AM
People, I try to understand - you really think, what we are going to win the World? Akhkhakhakh! It is simply ridiculous! Your lands, your buildings aren't necessary for us any. Russia the huge country and the Crimea was Russian so long ago. Meda whom we determine in ancient times by the Black Sea, called Russian the sea, therefore. that there lived Cossacks, which also Slavs and Russians (though separate group). Whether the Russian wars want? - You ask silence, you ask those soldiers who under birches lie, and you will be answered by their sons - whether the Russian wars want. Not only for the country Soldiers were lost during that war, Also it is people of all earth I could sleep peacefully at night.

In Response

by: Darleen from: California, USA
March 22, 2014 6:38 PM
Ruslan, what part of Putins new Disinformation Agency are you with?

Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Crimea 2014 ... Pattern is clear ... the politics of the Left, whether old Soviets or new Russian mobsters is to take & dominate.

In Response

by: Ruslan from: Russia
March 22, 2014 5:09 PM
you have no idea what kind of danger represents US to the world, seems that you are living without even realizing how fierce policy is conducting US in other countries and how many people died from the US invasion over the last 50-60 years... try to travel around the world and you will see how other people react to US and Americans.


by: patrick from: mexico
March 22, 2014 3:06 PM
'Russian territory' Russian protocols. When you enter what they
consider what they consider to the THEIR home, they will decide
with which hand you will be allowed to wipe your backside.

Why this 'code'?

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