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.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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'?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs