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STORMING SEVASTOPOL

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Ukrainian Headquarters Seized
By Harold Hutchison

The headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol was stormed by Russian troops as Vladimir Putin continued his push to seize the autonomous republic of Crimea after signing a treaty to annex it. The Russian forces then raised the Russian flag.

According to media reports, several hundred Russian troops forced their way onto the naval base, which also is the major base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The storming comes in the wake of a violent confrontation that left a Ukrainian serviceman dead at a military base near Simferopol, the capital of Crimea.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh had vowed that Ukrainian forces would not leave Crimea. However, after the base was stormed, Ukrainian military personnel were reportedly seen leaving wearing civilian clothes. One unconfirmed report indicated that the commander of the Ukrainian navy, Admiral Serhiy Haiduk, was taken from the naval base in a car by members of the FSB, one of the successor agencies to the KGB.

Ukrainian officials are comparing the annexation of Crimea by Russia to Germany’s takeover of the Sudetenland in 1938. “We would like to warn President Putin, who is personally responsible for this act of provocation, that the political leadership of the Russian Federation will have to answer to the entire world for the crimes which they are committing today on the territory of our country,” Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov was quoted as saying by the London Independent.