16,000 Russian troops deployed in Crimea region, Ukraine claims

by
March 4, 2014

Ukraine officials on Monday claimed 16,000 Russian troops have been deployed in the Crimea region, a sign of widening military intervention in the flashpoint peninsula.

“Approximately 16,000 Russian troops have been deployed in Crimea by the military ships, helicopters, cargo airplanes from the neighboring territory of the Russian Federation,” the permanent mission of Ukraine to the United Nations wrote in a letter. “The Russian troops keep taking their attempts to seize, block and control crucial governmental and military objects of Ukraine in Crimea: the Parliament in Crimea, all civil and military airports, means of communications, radio stations, customs service, military and coast guard bases and headquarters of the Ukraine’s navy in Crimea.”

The letter also claims Russian forces used stun grenades against Ukrainian soldiers, and said Ukrainian ships had been blocked in Sevastopol Bay by Russian naval vessels. Ukraine also claimed that Russian aircraft twice entered the nation’s airspace, and said the Ukrainian military base in Kerch was surrounded by Russian forces.

But the letter says Ukrainian armed forces are “protecting their staffs, military units and bases, and are not responding to any provocations that occurred over the past days.”

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