Around a dozen Ukrainian servicemen have walked out of their Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea’s Sevastopol port after the base was stormed by pro-Russian forces, according to witnesses.
The troops raised the Russian flag in the navy base after the tense but peaceful takeover.
Oleksander Balanyuk, a navy captain, appeared ashamed and downcast after his base was stormed.
“There is nothing we could do about the crowd,” he said. “Everything happened suddenly. There were promises from the Russian side and our side that the base would not be stormed, that any issues would be resolved politically, but as you see now – there was a takeover. Nothing was resolved politically.”
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.
Other military bases around Crimea remain tense but calm. Often surrounded by pro-Russian troops outside, while Ukrainian troops refuse to leave their posts inside.