The interim Ukrainian president Olexander Turchynov announced that Ukrainian troops are to withdraw from Crimea. He said this decision was made because of the numerous threats that the Ukrainian military and their families were receiving from the Russian military (BBC; Reuters). Now all Ukrainian military bases are under Russian control. Russia annexed Crimea after residents held a widely controversial referendum. Crimeans voted to be a part of Russia but the West considers this referendum to be illegal and do not give the vote support (Reuters).
The statement of withdrawal was made after the Russian military took over key military bases over the weekend. Russians took control over the port and naval base in Feodosia as well as a Belbek air base (EuroNews). In Feodosia, it has been reported by Reuters that Ukrainian marines were being taken away for questioning and being subject to “constant psychological pressure.” They are also holding between 60 and 80 Ukrainian military personnel (Reuters).
The military commander of NATO has shown his concern over the fact that there are Russian troops still sitting on the border of Ukraine. There is concern that the troops’ presence could garner another separatist movement and another invasion in Ukraine’s Transnistria region (Aljazeera). A BBC corespondent supposed that this removal of Ukrainian troops from Crimea did signal that the battle for Crimea is over.
Tags: Ukraine, Russia, Johnson, NATO, Crimea