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Situation in Crimea tense, number of Russian troops and hardware continues increasing at Ukraine's eastern border

13-03-2014 14:58

The situation in Crimea remains very tense and complicated as Russian troops and Crimean self-defence paramilitary keep blocking and taking over Ukrainian military units, garrisons, navy ships, frontier posts, airports, and administrative buildings across the peninsula.

Ukrainian officers and soldiers refuse to surrender and desert to Russia or obey to the self-proclaimed Crimean authorities. They remain loyal to their oath of allegiance to Ukraine and do not respond to provocations. The international airport of Simferopol has been closed since Tuesday. However, rail carriage between Crimea and the mainland operates on a regular basis, although some train arrivals and departures are delayed. Meanwhile, the number of Russian army personnel and hardware continues increasing at Ukraine's eastern border. National Security and Defence Council Secretary Andriy Parubiy said in parliament on Thursday that there were "clear signs of preparations for an offensive", similar to the amassment of German troops at Ukraine's western border in June, 1941. The Russian Defence Ministry said in a press release on Thursday that the Russian Armed Forces were "stepping up their battle drills at designated training ranges as part of their regular training plans" and that the exercises would last until the end of March.