Crimea conflict entering military stage

2014-03-18 19:54
Hundreds of armed men in trucks and armoured vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea, blocking its soldiers from leaving. (Darko Vojinovic, AP)

Hundreds of armed men in trucks and armoured vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea, blocking its soldiers from leaving. (Darko Vojinovic, AP)

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Kiev - Ukraine's Western-backed prime minister said on Tuesday that his country's conflict with Russia was entering a "military stage" following claims by Kiev that one of its officers was shot and wounded in Crimea.

"The conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage," Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told an emergency government meeting. "Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian military servicemen, and that is a war crime."

Ukraine's navy chief Sergiy Gayduk said earlier that an officer had been shot and injured in the leg "during an attack against a base in [Crimea's main city of] Simferopol."

He did not specify where or when the incident happened or who was behind the attack.

But an AFP reporter outside a Ukrainian military unit in a suburb northeast of Simferopol heard a burst of gunfire coming from the building and saw two ambulances driving into the area

The region around the military unit was sealed off by what appeared to be pro-Moscow militants.

"Armed attempts to take over [Ukrainian] military units have multiplied in recent days," Gayduk said at the government meeting.

Read more on:    russia  |  ukraine

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