The breathtaking confrontation at the Ukrainian military base
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The breathtaking confrontation at the Ukrainian military base

Since Monday night, hundreds of members of Crimea’s self-defense forces and soldiers in vehicles with Russian license plates have surrounded Belbek air base, near Sevastopol on Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

At 9 a.m. yesterday morning, after playing the Ukrainian national anthem, a group of Ukrainian soldiers, unarmed, carried the Ukrainian and Soviet flags on their shoulders.

Ukrainian soldiers carry the flag of the Soviet Union.

These Ukrainian soldiers demanded to be allowed inside the base to work.

The line of about 200 Ukrainian soldiers gradually approached the pro-Russian side’s position, where a military vehicle with Russian license plates and three men stood blocking the road.

After the first shot, the Ukrainian soldiers paused, but then continued walking.

Another soldier, waving the Soviet flag, shouted: `This is the Soviet flag, you are shooting the Soviet flag!`.

A total of 5 bullets were fired into the air.

Video: Tense confrontation

The breathtaking confrontation at the Ukrainian military base

International reporters recorded while the colonel commanding the Ukrainian base approached to negotiate with representatives of the other side.

The base commander, Colonel Yuli Mamchur, then negotiated with representatives of the armed group.

Relatives of Ukrainian soldiers at the base, worried by the tension, gathered in front of the area and held up signs saying `No war`.

`Of course my mother was scared and cried, telling me to keep myself safe,` said an aircraft radio technician of the Ukrainian Air Force.

Another soldier, co-pilot Severin Vetvitsky, said they received unclear orders and did not know what to do.

Until last night, the stress level seemed to be easing.

The new government in Kiev accused Russia of sending 16,000 troops to Crimea, but the Kremlin denied this information.

The breathtaking confrontation at the Ukrainian military base

Soldiers on the staff of Belbek Air Base, Ukraine, play soccer after the confrontation.

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