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Ukraine says Russian troops evict border guards from outpost

Source: Reuters - Sat, 8 Mar 2014 08:44 GMT
Author: Reuters
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KIEV, March 8 (Reuters) - Ukraine's border guards said on Saturday some of their men had been evicted from an outpost in eastern Crimea by Russian soldiers, who seized their apartments and forced them out in the middle of the night with their families.

It was not immediately possible independently to confirm the report, the latest confrontation between Russian troops who seized the Black Sea peninsula last week and the detachments of Ukrainians who remain there.

Russian forces in uniforms with no markings have surrounded Ukrainian bases in the occupied peninsula since they seized it last week, and the region's Russian separatist leadership has ordered the Ukrainians to surrender.

So far there has been no shooting, but standoffs at bases have become increasingly tense. The Ukrainians are heavily outnumbered and outgunned and have offered no resistance.

"Aggressive Russian troops stormed and seized a unit of the border service at Shcholkine and ousted the families of the Ukrainian borders guards," the Ukrainian border service said in a statement.

"Russian armed servicemen rushed into the unit overnight. During the attack, they beat a duty officer who tried to resist and seized a weapons storage room. The attackers rushed into the apartments where families lived.

"Russians seized mobile phones of the chief of the unit, his wife and other officers. They ordered all to pack up and leave the building. At the present time, the unit is occupied by Russian soldiers."

Moscow denies its troops are operating in Crimea, an assertion ridiculed by Western governments. Kiev says Russia has deployed about 30,000 troops in region.

While the troops do not wear insignia on their uniforms, they drive in vehicles with Russian military license plates. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Writing by Peter Graff, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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