Two busloads of Ukrainian marines have left their Black Sea base of Feodosia in the Crimean port, quietly bound for inland Ukraine.
Feodosia was overrun in the early hours of Monday by pro-Russian troops. In chartered coaches they were trailed by a transporter with Russian plates and soldiers.
Bidding the marines farewell, a local woman said: “I feel disappointed and sad at what has happened.”
Asked what she expects now, she said: “I don’t really know.”
Asked what her name is, she answered: “What for? Our people in this occupied territory need to introduce themselves now?”
The Russian take-over of the Feodosia base came two days after forces took Ukraine’s Belbek airbase in Crimea.
Belbek was one of the last military facilities in Crimea still under Ukrainian control following Russia’s armed takeover and subsequent annexation of the peninsula. An outgoing officer said the surrounding Russian forces had given the Ukrainians one hour to surrender.
The Russian takeover of Crimea has been largely bloodless, although one Ukrainian serviceman was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting in Simferopol earlier this week. Crimea’s population is mostly Russian in origin.
One Ukrainian marine said: “Although I’m Russian myself and my relatives are in Russia, I won’t serve in Russia, only in Ukraine.”
A Ukrainian sailor said: “So, they kicked us out. We’re not rats. What was I supposed to do, stay there? How would that help? It wouldn’t bring Crimea back to Ukraine.”
As the Ukrainian troops left, a group of joyriders in a civilian 4×4 drove around land outside the base whooping “Glory to Russia!”