The Ukrainian authorities report the invasion of armed Russian troops in Crimea
On 27 February, 2014, several-dozen armed men seized the building of the Supreme Council and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, in Simferopol (Ukraine). They raised Russian flags on flagpoles and barricaded themselves in the building. The invaders referred to themselves as the ‘members of the self-defence units of Russian-speaking citizens of Crimea’. At the same time, manoeuvres of Russian armed forces began in places of deployment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. On 28 February, 2014, the Russian troops seized the airport in Sevastopol and attempted to seize the airport in Simferopol. The Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs described these activities as an ‘armed invasion and occupation’. Both international and Ukrainian societies fear that Russia will attempt to implement the ‘Georgian scenario’ of 2008 in Ukraine. In Georgia, under the guise of protecting its citizens, the Russian troops occupied the part of the country.
The situation in the Crimean peninsula has escalated over several days. On 26 February, 2014, an extraordinary plenary meeting of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC, the supreme representative body the autonomy) was scheduled to be held. Presumably, the purpose of the meeting was to consider the situation in the country. In connection with the meeting, on the morning of 26 February, 2014, two groups began to gather near the Supreme Council building: first – a pro-Russian rally (mainly comprised of ethnic Russians), and the second – a pro-Ukrainian rally (comprised of ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars). The participants of the pro-Russian rally demanded that the authorities refuse to recognise the new Ukrainian government, and to sever the Crimean peninsula form Ukraine in to become part of the Russian Federation. Minor clashes were reported to have taken place during the rallies. Several people were injured, and one person died of a heart attack. In view of the deteriorating situation in the area, the meeting of the Supreme Council has been cancelled. Officially: due to the lack of a quorum.