These photographs show the dramatic standoff at Belbek air base in Crimea today

Earlier Saturday, Russian forces used armored vehicles to break into a Ukranian air base in Belbek, Crimea, essentially seizing control of one of the last Ukrainian military outposts on the peninsula. As my colleague Carol Morello reported, the standoff lasted for hours and gunfire and explosions could be heard as the vehicles broke down the gate. At least two people had been wounded and were taken away in ambulances.

Here are some images from the standoff, taken by our reporter and wire photographers.


Russian forces sit in an armoured vehicle before they storm the Ukrainian military base in Belbek, Crimea. (Vasily Fedosenko/ Reuters)

Ukrainian soldiers inside the Belbek airbase burn documents, anticipating their last day on the base. (Carol Morello/ The Washington Post)

Another image shows documents being burned inside the Belbek air base as Ukrainian soldiers prepare for the Russian forces to enter the base. (Carol Morello/ The Washington Post)

A Russian military officer, left, talks to Ukrainian Col. Yuli Mamchur. The Russians demanded that Ukrainian servicemen leave a military base in Belbek. (Vasily Fedosenko/ Reuters)

Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, gather on a hill near the military base. (Shamil Zhumatov/ Reuters)

Ukrainian soldiers inside the air base stand with sticks. For some, these were their only weapons. (Carol Morello/ The Washington Post)

Ukrainian Col. Yuli Mamchur and his wife wait inside the base as Russian forces approach. (Carol Morello/ The Washington Post)

Members of pro-Russian self-defence units run together with plain-clothes people outside a military base. (Vasily Fedosenko/ Reuters)

Ukrainian servicemen and a woman gather inside as Russian troops surround the base. (Vasily Fedosenko/ Reuters)

Ukrainian soldiers inspect their weapon as Russian soldiers surround the Belbek air base. (Carol Morello/ The Washington Post)

Bored soldiers sit inside their base as the Russian forces surround the Belbek air base in Crimea. (Carol Morello/The Washington Post)
Anup Kaphle is the Post's digital foreign editor. He has an M.S. degree in journalism from Columbia University. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Anup Kaphle | March 21