As it happened: Ukraine naval base stormed in Crimea

Key points

  • Ukraine announces it is drawing up a plan to withdraw soldiers and their families from Crimea
  • Ukraine says it is leaving the Moscow-led Commonwealth of Independent States and is preparing military exercises with the US and UK
  • Pro-Russian forces storm two Ukrainian naval bases in Crimea
  • Ukraine says "hostages" taken at bases and issues ultimatum for their release
  • The latest developments come after Russia and Crimea signed a treaty on Tuesday absorbing the territory into the Russian Federation
  • Crimeans voted in favour of splitting from Ukraine in a referendum on Sunday dismissed by the West as illegal. All times GMT

Live text


  • Nina Lamparski 
  • Sarah Fowler 
  • Sam Wilson 
  • Jasmine Coleman 
  • Richard Irvine-Brown 
  • Bernadette McCague 

Last updated 19 March 2014


Welcome to our live page on developments in Crimea, where the Ukrainian military is apparently being ousted by pro-Russian forces.


Various sources say the commander of the Ukrainian navy, Admiral Serhiy Haiduk, has been forced to leave the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea, in Sevastopol, and has been taken away, apparently by Russian intelligence officers.


Earlier pro-Russian forces stormed the base, replacing the Ukrainian flag with a Russian one. A number of Ukrainian servicemen were seen leaving the base, unarmed and in civilian clothing.


The takeover appears to have been carried out without bloodshed. Oleksander Balanyuk, a captain in the Ukrainian navy, told Reuters: "This morning they stormed the compound. They cut the gates open, but I heard no shooting."


Men - presumed to be Ukrainian naval officers and sailors - were seen leaving the Sevastopol base with uniforms and belongings, passing pro-Russian forces at the gate.

Man presumed to be a Ukrainian naval officer leaves Sevastopol base in Crimea


Meanwhile, the Ukrainian defence minister was due to fly to Crimea to "resolve the situation", but Crimea's pro-Russian Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said: "They will not be allowed to enter in Crimea. They will be sent back."


Sevastopol-based website has published photographs apparently showing Russian Black Sea Fleet commander Aleksandr Vitko inside the Ukrainian navy base in Sevastopol. See the photos here.


European Commission

tweets: #EU/#Ukraine @EU_Commission proposes a further €1bn in macro-financial assistance!cD36wM cc @ECspokesSimon #euromaidan


The BBC's World Affairs editor John Simpson has described the annexation of Crimea as the smoothest invasion of modern times. You can read his analysis of events here.