Tensions ease after Crimean military post standoff: local PM

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 07, 2014 3:58 PM

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) - Armed men thought to be Russians drove a truck into a Ukrainian missile-defense post in the Crimea region on Friday but a standoff was resolved without a shot being fired, witness said.

Initial reports said the truck had smashed through the gates of the base in the port city of Sevastopol and that it was being stormed, but a Reuters reporter on the scene could not see any signs of major damage to the gates and the base was quiet.

Crimea's pro-Russia premier, Sergei Aksyonov, was asked about the incident during a political chat show shown live on Ukrainian television and said all was calm at the military post.

Referring to the armed men as "self-defense units, he indicated the standoff was over, adding: "Now the self-defense units are surrounded by journalists. There are no attempts to attack."

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A Ukrainian military official told Reuters at the post that the armed group inside had not seized any weapons.

Russian forces have taken over some military installations and other buildings on the peninsula, where Russia's Black Sea Fleet has a base, but both sides have held their fire.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)