03 March 2014

Ukrainians "Won't Give Up Without a Fight" as
Ivan Surrounds Marine Base at Feodosia

Marines hold firm at Feodosia

Quickly out-numbered and out-gunned, other military checkpoints and border crossings/bases in the Ukrainian-since-1954 Crimea were disarmed by unmarked Russian troops that came pouring over the border this weekend, with all significant facilities are encircled. The newly-appointed head of the Ukranian Navy (his Crimean office surrounded/electricity cut-off) felt obliged to defect to the newly-formed, pro-Russian "Independent Republic of the Crimea" as well.

But that is not at all the case for an Ukrainian Marine base at Feodosia, where yesterday the commander of the elite troops -upon being handed an ultimatum- "politely but firmly" told the Russians to "get lost"...

"We gave an oath to the state of Ukraine, not an oath to one particular general, and certainly not one from another country," Major Rostislav Lomtev told the Guardian from inside the base.

The Russians duly disappeared. But not for long. They would be back later. The resolution to this standoff remains precariously inconclusive...

The troops may not wear insignia on their uniforms, but they arrived in trucks with Russian military plates and are well armed. Privately, the commanders admitted to Ukrainian troops that they were Russian regular troops. Given that some of them were personally acquainted, there was not much point in hiding it.

As Major Lomtev in Feodosia put it: "We know a lot of them, because we have done a lot of joint exercises together and have close links with them. To be honest, I don't think they are very proud of the orders they are carrying out at the moment."

At Perevalnoye, Crimea, a Ukranian Coast Guard base also refused to surrender to the Russian Army. A tense standoff has ensuded there, with the two sides only agreeing not to point their weapons at each other (for the time being).

Would Vladimir Putin continue to trash his image, economy, and legacy by firing on them? Or he only interested in harvesting whatever low-lying fruit he can in Russophone areas while avoiding a costly, bloody engagment with his Slavic "brothers"?

We'll find out soon enough, one way or the other... live updates -here-

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