Ukraine Withdraws Coastguards from Crimea, Navy Stays Local

MarineLink.com
Monday, March 03, 2014

Reuters - Ukraine said on Sunday its navy's fleet of 10 warships in the Crimean port of Sevastopol had not left the port and remained loyal to the government in Kiev.

Earlier, Ukraine said it had withdrawn coastguard vessels from Sevastopol and another Crimean port and stationed them elsewhere. Ukraine withdrew its coast guard vessels from two ports in Crimea and moved them to other Black Sea bases on Sunday, a sign that Russian forces were completing their seizure of the isolated Black Sea peninsula.

In a statement, the border guards said vessels from the Crimean ports of Kerch and Sevastopol had been moved to Odessa and Mariupol. The situation on Ukraine's frontiers was stable apart from in Crimea, the statement said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared he has the right to invade Ukraine to protect Russian citizens. Russian forces have seized Crimea, an isolated peninsula, where Russia's Black Sea Fleet also has its headquarters. Several units of Ukrainian troops in Crimea have been surrounded, and Russian troops have urged them to give up arms and support the peninsula's pro-Moscow regional authorities.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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