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Ukraine orders troop withdrawal from Crimea

Ukraine orders troop withdrawal from Crimea
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Ukraine has announced the evacuation of its soldiers and their families from Crimea, effectively acknowledging defeat in the face of Russian forces.

It came as one of the last Ukrainian symbols of resistance on the peninsula, the naval base at Feodosia was attacked and overrun.

Authorities in Kyiv said the order to evacuate followed threats by Russian forces on the lives and health of Ukrainian service staff and their families.

On Saturday, Ukraine’s Belbek air base in Crimea was seized, its commander reportedly taken by Russian forces to a military prison.

Ukrainian officials from Feodosia are also said to have been taken away for questioning.

Ukraine’s interim president has put a brave face on the country’s inability to defend its bases. Olexander Turchynov said his troops’ refusal to surrender in Crimea had bought time for armed forces to re-group nationally to protect the rest of Ukraine.

Moscow meanwhile had sent its first senior government official to Crimea since formally annexing the peninsula last week.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has been meeting local pro-Russian authorities and inspecting military facilities.