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Report: Pro-Russia forces try to seize base in Sevastopol

Interfax news agency reported Friday that pro-Russia forces tried to take over a Ukrainian military base near Sevastopol, a port city in Crimea. The report, citing Ukrainian officials, said no shots were fired but stun grenades were used.  Interfax said about 100 Ukrainian troops were at the base.

The BBC reports that the gates of the base did not appear to be driven through and “there was no sign that the base had been seized.” Two trucks with Russian plates and pro-Russian demonstrators were outside the base, he said.

A Moscow correspondent for the Daily Telegraph tweeted that about 30 to 60 Russian troops drove off from the base after “talks.” He also reported that a cameraman was beaten at the base.

The Guardian’s Shaun Walker said on Twitter that the cameraman had been taken to the hospital.

Also Friday, the Associated Press reported that armed men confiscated equipment from its employees and contractors in the Crimean capital of Simferopol.

AP’s Global Media Services, a division of the news cooperative that provides services to broadcasters, said a crew was setting up a satellite uplink for a live camera position above a Simferopol restaurant Thursday. They were approached by unarmed men who asked them to turn off their broadcast lights and prevented them from leaving the building.

Two other men then came and took photos of AP’s equipment, including protective jackets, and accused the crew of being spies.

Later, armed men showed up and ordered the crew to put their hands against the wall while they cut cables and took the equipment away. Some of the equipment has been recovered, but much is still missing. The contractors and employees were kept at the building for about two hours before being released unharmed.

Also today:
Putin rebuffs Obama and says Russia ‘cannot ignore calls for help’
While pro-Russian parties in Crimea planned campaigns for a referendum on splitting from Ukraine

Terri Rupar is The Post's national digital projects editor.

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