Things are happening quickly in Ukraine’s southern peninsula of Crimea.
Now Ukraine’s coast guard base is surrounded by about 30 Russian marines.
On Thursday armed gunman commandeered the local parliament building in the regional capital of Simferopol and raised the Russian flag.
This quote by Maxim, a pro-Russian activist who camped out overnight outside parliament, deepens the intrigue (emphasis ours):
“They were asking who we were. When we said we stand for the Russian language and Russia, they said: don’t be afraid, we’re with you. Then they began to storm the building bringing down the doors,” he told the Associated Press.
“They didn’t look like volunteers or amateurs, they were professionals. This was clearly a well-organised operation. They did not allow anyone to come near. They seized the building, drove out the police, there were about six police officers inside.”
It’s unclear how deeply involved Russian troops are in Crimea, which has a majority ethnic Russian population and hosts the Kremlin’s Black Sea naval fleet, but there are increasingly indications that Russia is now mobilizing to secure its interests in the former Soviet port.
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