The Ukrainian Navy has lost its headquarters today, according to spokesman Sergiy Bogdanov, who revealed that some 200 unarmed Crimeans forced their way into the base and raised a Russian flag.
“Even though we have the authorization to use weapons in self-defense, we are not doing so and will not do so,” Bogdanov added, saying the remaining Ukrainian officers have barricaded themselves into a single building for the time being.
Navy Capt. Oleksandr Balanyuk was critical of the Ukrainian government’s stance, saying “this should have been solved politically,” instead of insisting the Navy would keep the Crimean base with no practical way for their forces to do so.
The Crimeans had been protesting outside the Sevastopol base, demanding the Ukrainians leave Crimean soil after the secession. Officials say at some point early today they cut a hole in the fence and stormed the base.
The Ukrainian troops, by and large, simply walked out when that happened, and reports are that many of the soldiers who left did so in civilian clothes. Unlike some other disputes over bases in the Crimea, no shots were fired.