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Monday 22 September 2014

Ukraine latest: Russian troops thwarted in attempt to storm missile base in Sevastopol

Lewis Smith

Published 08/03/2014 | 07:45

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A uniformed man, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard near a Ukrainian military base outside the city of Sevastopol, March 7, 2014. President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea, saying on Friday that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)
A uniformed man, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard near a Ukrainian military base outside the city of Sevastopol REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
A uniformed man, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard near a Ukrainian military base outside the city of Sevastopol, March 7, 2014. President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea, saying on Friday that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)
A uniformed man, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard near a Ukrainian military base outside the city of Sevastopol, March 7, 2014. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
Ukrainian serviceman look out of the gate of their military base near Sevastopol, March 8, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
Ukrainian serviceman look out of the gate of their military base near Sevastopol, March 8, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Russian troops attempted to storm a Ukrainian missile base in Sevastopol on Friday night but were thwarted when the defenders barricaded themselves inside.

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Stun grenades were said to have been thrown by the attackers who used a military truck to drive through the gates to the base but no shots were fired.

About 100 Ukrainian troops are thought to have been in the missile installation and the Russians left after holding talks with the base commanders and reaching an agreement with them. Estimates of the number of Russians involved ranged from 20 to 60.

It remained unclear why the Russians tried to enter the base, what their intentions were or what agreement they came to with the Ukrainian officers.

The Ukrainian deputy commander spoke briefly to journalists afterwards and said the Russians had told him they had permission to open fire.

Several members of a pro-Russian “self-defence” militia were also seen outside the base and were said to have attacked two press photographers who tried to take pictures of the scene.

The standoff came at the end of a day when Russia appeared to have tightened its grip on the Crimean peninsula with an estimated 20,000 of its troops now based in the region. The estimate by the Pentagon was 10,000 lower than that of a Ukrainian figure cited earlier today.

Local women watch armed men, believed to be Russian soldiers, assemble near a Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoe March 5, 2014.   REUTERS/Thomas Peter (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Local women watch armed men, believed to be Russian soldiers, assemble near a Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoe March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Armed men, believed to be Russian soldiers, pose for a group photo as they assemble near an Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoe March 5, 2014. Ukraine's government said on Wednesday "Russian aggression" in Crimea was hitting the country's economy hard but signalled growing confidence that it will secure international loans and avoid bankruptcy. REUTERS/Thomas Peter (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
Armed men, believed to be Russian soldiers, pose for a group photo as they assemble near an Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoe March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Uniformed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, smoke outside a Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol, March 5, 2014. The United States and Britain failed in an attempt to bring Russia and Ukraine together on Wednesday at a meeting in Paris of a group created to assure Kiev's security after it renounced nuclear weapons in the 1990s.  REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CONFLICT)
Uniformed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, smoke outside a Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol, March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Moscow’s strained relations with Western nations continued to fester as it issued warnings that sanctions or other measures imposed by the United States or the European Union would provoke retaliation.

(Independent.co.uk)

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