Russia consolidates grip on Crimea

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iol pic wld_UKRAINE-CRISIS-_0310_11 REUTERS Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, march outside an Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye near the Crimean city of Simferopol. Picture: David Mdzinarishvili

Kiev - Russian forces consolidated their hold on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula on Monday, taking over a military hospital and a missile base as officials geared up for a referendum on the region's future.

Interfax Ukraine news agency said pro-Russian militias and Russian troops had seized the hospital in Simferopol, the peninsula's main administrative city, and herded staff into a hall to “apparently meet the institutions' s new directors.” It said 20 patients in the building were seriously ill.

In the port of Sevastopol, Russian soldiers disarmed servicemen at a Ukrainian army missile base, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea said.

Vladislav Seleznyov told Fifth Channel television that about 200 soldiers aboard 14 trucks moved on the building at about 1.30a.m(11.30 GMT) and threatened to storm it if the Ukrainian soldiers failed to give up their weapons. - Reuters



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