Ukraine Troops Withdraw From Crimea

Army: Around Half of Commanders Defected to Russia

The loss of the armory at Feodosia base, effectively the last territorial possession on the peninsula, has led Ukraine’s interim president Oleksandr Turchinov to order a full military withdrawal from Crimea.

The Ukraine military had been ordering pullouts for much of the peninsula since Friday, but a few bases had stragglers who claimed they never got the orders. Those bases were quickly consolidated under Russian military control.

Russia annexed Crimea on Friday, less than a week after a referendum showed overwhelming support among Crimeans to secede from Ukraine and enter the Russian Federation. They took a lot of Ukraine’s military with them.

Ukraine’s deputy Army Chief of Staff Oleksandr Rozmaznin confirmed that “around 50 percent” of the commanders of Ukrainian forces in Crimea have signed contracts to join the Russian military, though he insisted they would not provide the names. Denys Berezovsky, briefly named as Ukraine’s Navy Chief before defecting, has been appointed deputy commander of the Russian fleet at Sevastopol.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.