Around a dozen Ukrainian servicemen have walked out of the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea’s Sevastopol port after the base was taken over by pro-Russian forces, according to witnesses.
The Pro-Russian troops raised the Russian flag in the navy base after the tense but peaceful takeover.
Three armed men wearing unmarked uniforms were reported at the gate of the base.
Shortly after the incident, Ihor Tenyukh, Ukraine’s acting Defence Minister said that the country’s forces would not withdraw from Crimea, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make the region part of Russia.
Thousands of pro-Russian soldiers have taken control of Crimea in recent weeks in the build-up to last Sunday’s referendum in which Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.
Moscow denies deploying extra troops, and pro-Russian soldiers in the region are wearing unmarked uniforms. That makes it difficult to verify exactly who is who on the ground.
Meanwhile, a 17-year-old has been arrested in connection with the deadly shooting of a Ukrainian serviceman in Crimea’s main city Simferopol on Tuesday.