Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claims that the troops controlling Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula are “self-defence forces created by the inhabitants of Crimea, we have no authority over them.”
That is provably false.
The Interpreter has listed several examples of these “not-Russian-but-yeah-definitely-Russian-military paramilitary troops” — including the fact that soldiers have admitted being Russian multiple times — and it becomes clearer by the day as Russian armoured vehicles show up.
Nevertheless, that’s the Kremlin story as Russian troops with uniforms without insignia and mercenaries continue to surround all key Ukrainian military facilities and urge Ukrainian soldiers to defect.
Here are some of the more disquieting scenes from today and yesterday:
Ukrainian soldiers watch as a Russian soldier guards the gate of an infantry base in Perevalne.
Belbek airport has been very tense. Here’s a Russian soldier looks through the sights of his weapon.
The vehicles and weaponry on the Russian side are substantial.
The Ukrainian soldiers at Balbek marched in defiance of the siege.
Soldiers under Russian command watched them as the unarmed soldiers marched, aiming a rocket propelled grenade launcher.
When they got closer, the soldiers shouted and warning shots were fired in the air.
Another soldier restrained his colleague after he fired his weapon into the air.
Here a Russian serviceman is seen behind pro-Russian “self-defence forces” at Belbek.
And there’s a Russian tank blocking the a road near the small Ukrainian city of Armyansk, which connects Crimea with the rest of Ukraine.
The Russians continue waiting, watching trying to convince Ukrainian soldiers to give up their arms and pledge allegiance to local pro-Kremlin authorities.
While the besieged Ukrainian soldiers wait at their posts, surrounded.
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