Gazprom = Russia's trump card......
The Most Important Company In Europe
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/22/2014 14:14 -0400
Russian troops storm Ukrainian bases in Crimea
Shooting and explosions have been heard as Russian troops backed by armoured vehicles stormed a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea.
Reports say at least one person was injured during the assault on Belbek base, near Sevastopol. The base is now said to be under Russian control.
Earlier, several hundred unarmed protesters seized a Ukrainian naval base at Novofedorivka, western Crimea.
Pro-Russian militia have also been seizing Ukrainian navy ships.
The BBC's Ian Pannell, in Crimea, says the Ukrainian troops on the peninsula feel beleaguered and abandoned by their commanders in Ukraine.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law formalising Russia's takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, despite fresh sanctions from the EU and the US.'All is in smoke'
In Belbek, two armoured personnel carriers burst through the wall of the base followed by Russian troops firing weapons in the air.
An ambulance was then seen entering the base amid reports that at least one person was injured.
The Ukrainian soldiers were later gathered at the base main square in front of the heavily armed Russian troops.
The storming followed an ultimatum by the Russians to surrender.
The Belbek base commander earlier told the few dozen troops still there to shoot in the air if they were attacked.
He said he had been waiting for days for orders from Kiev but told the BBC that none had been issued.
Ukraine's military chiefs deny this, saying each unit in Crimea has been issued with clear orders on what to do if attacked.
In Novofedorivka, attackers threw smoke bombs at the base.
"All is in smoke. We retreated to the main headquarters," a spokesman for the Ukraine defence ministry's Crimean region, Vladyslav Seleznyov, was quoted as saying by Ukrainian media.
He later said the Ukrainian forces had left the base after performing the national anthem.
Pro-Russian militia - backed by Russian forces - have already seized a number of Ukrainian bases in the southern peninsula.
"All of Crimea is Russia, and the Ukrainian force must leave," one of the pro-Russian activists told the BBC.
Russian troops have taken over control of Crimea following last month's overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych after mass street protests.
The Kremlin says it acted to protect its "compatriots" in Crimea from "fascists" moving in from the mainland Ukraine.
Kiev denies the claim, accusing Moscow of "blatant lies" to justify the land grab.
Ukraine and the West have condemned as "illegal" the 16 March referendum in Crimea, where voters backed a proposal to re-join Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has since signed a law formalising Crimea's takeover.
The US and EU have responded with a series of sanctions targeting those individuals - including senior officials - involved in what Washington and Brussels describe as Crimea's "annexation".
Russian Forces Storm Crimean Military Base In Belbek - Live Webcast
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/22/2014 11:12 -0400
As we reported earlier, while Ukraine military forces are either slowly leaving the Crimea or joining the Russian army, one outpost, that at the Crimean airforce base of Belbek, remains undaunted by Russian demands to hand over the premises as theRussian ultimatum to surrender has expired, and moments ago wire services reported that shots were fired as Russian forces stormed the front gate of the Crimean outpost. Watch a live webcast from the scene below as the Russian force take control of the last place of presence of Ukraine forces in the Crimea.
Update: Curiously, as soon as we put the live webcast on, this happened:
Ukraine Troops In Crimea Refuse To Leave While Russia Takes Over Most
Of Ukraine Navy Fleet
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/22/2014 08:59 -0400
As of Friday, the Ukraine has, as we predicted a month ago, been officially divided in two. As AP reported earlier, "two almost simultaneous signatures Friday on opposite sides of Europe deepened the divide between East and West, as Russia formally annexed Crimea and the European Union pulled Ukraine closer into its orbit. In this "new post-Cold War order," as the Ukrainian prime minister called it, besieged Ukrainian troops on the Crimean Peninsula faced a critical choice: leave, join the Russian military or demobilize. Ukraine was working on evacuating its outnumbered troops in Crimea, but some said they were still awaiting orders."
However, it appears it is not so much a question of figuring out how to evacuate the troops, but rather motivating them. AsRIA reports, "less than 2,000 of Ukrainian troops serving in Crimea decided to leave the peninsula for Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday. "As of March 21, less than 2,000 out of 18,000 Ukrainian servicemen staying on the territory of the Republic of Crimea decided to go to Ukraine," the ministry said in a statement.
Those willing to continue their service in the Ukrainian armed forces will be provided with transport to carry their families and belongings to the Ukrainian territory, the ministry added. So while Russia is saying good riddance of foreign troops situation in its brand new territory, it is at least being kind enough to provide the means to depart.
Meanwhile, Russia, already in control of the critical warm water port of Sevastopol, just became the brand new owner of virtually the entire Ukraine navy fleet.
A total of 147 military units in Crimea have hoisted Russian flags instead of Ukrainian and applied to join the Russian armed forces."St. Andrew's flags of the Russian Navy have been raised on 54 out of 67 vessels of the Ukrainian Navy, including eight warships and one submarine," the defense ministry said.Ukraine's only submarine, the Zaporizhzhia, joined the Russian Black Sea Fleet earlier on Saturday and will be soon relocated to its base.
So while the last vestiges of Ukraine military presence in the Crimea slowly disappear, one place that still refuses to give in to Russians, is the Belbek air force base in east Crimea, made known several weeks ago for the stand off between Russian and Ukraine troops. As shown on the picture below, the troops are waiting for order from Kiev, while the Russian soldiers have all the time in the world to wait as the besieged base is emptied out.AFP adds that some 200 unarmed pro-Russian protesters stormed the base, as the soldiers have barricaded inside and are throwing smoke bombs.
Russia's Medvedev says Ukraine owes Russia $16 billion: agencies
(Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Friday that in total Ukraine owes Russia $16 billion, local news agencies reported.
Medvedev said that Ukraine owes Russia $11 billion because the treaty under which Russia provides Ukraine with cheap gas in return for the Sevastopol naval base was "subject to denunciation".
In addition, he said that Ukraine owes Russia $3 billion for a recent loan in the form of Russian purchase of Eurobonds, and that around $2 billion is owed to Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled gas concern.