Ukraine president orders Crimea troop withdrawal after Russia 'threats'

Ukraine president orders Crimea troop withdrawal after Russia 'threats'
Mon Mar 24, 2014 17:17:08

Ukraine's interim President Olexander Turchynov has ordered the country’s armed forces to withdraw fully from the strategic Black Sea Crimean Peninsula.

The order was issued on Monday, shortly after Russian forces took over another naval base in Crimea.

The base in the Crimean port city of Feodosia was one of the few military facilities still flying the Ukrainian flag after the territory joined the Russian Federation last week.

Speaking in the Ukrainian parliament, Turchynov said the withdrawal order was issued in the face of "threats to the lives and health of our service personnel."

"The National Defense and Security Council has instructed the Defense Ministry to carry out a re-deployment of military units in Crimea and carry out the evacuation of their families," he added.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry also confirmed that the marine base was seized early on Monday, but said two of its servicemen were being held there.

Tensions have remained high in Crimea since the peninsula separated from the former Soviet state and rejoined Russia a week ago.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the Russian flag is now flying over 189 military facilities across the Crimean territory.

Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, in which 96.8 percent of Crimeans voted for union with Russia, with a turnout of 83.1 percent.

On March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law documents that officially made the Black Sea peninsula part of the Russian territory despite condemnation from the West and the new Ukrainian government.


string(699) "[{"id":"1574507","sort":"3183796","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/11/alalam_635301363739149206_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"NATO AWACS planes to monitor Ukraine crisis"} ,{"id":"1576183","sort":"3183797","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/16/alalam_635305672709638592_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Crimea holds referendum amid Ukraine turmoil"} ,{"id":"1576588","sort":"3183798","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/17/alalam_635306662204484365_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Tensions rise as Ukraine forces push to Russia border"} ,{"id":"1577550","sort":"3183799","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/20/alalam_635309035455133032_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Ukraine plans to quit CIS, urges UN to demilitarize Crimea"} ]"