Russia Sends Cargo Planes to Crimea Amid Unrest

Officials Say Deployments In Keeping With Existing Ukraine Pact

by Jason Ditz, February 28, 2014

Eight Russian cargo planes reportedly landed in the Crimean capital city of Simferopol today, brushing off Ukrainian customs officials, carrying unknown equipment apparently bound for their naval base in nearby Sevastopol.

Such shipments normally wouldn’t raise any eyebrows, but with the recent regime change in the Ukraine and secessionist unrest in the Crimea, any Russian military actions are being treated with immediate suspicion by the new interim government.

Russia insists that the shipments and deployments of troops near their naval base are in keeping with their existing framework agreement with the Ukraine on use of the Sevastopol base, the home of the Black Sea Fleet for over 200 years.

The interim Ukrainian government is largely anti-Russian, and many are pushing for the expulsion of Russia from the naval base as a way of trying to shore up their grip on the Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority.

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