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Russia denies involvement in Crimea airport seizures as mystery over gunmen's identity continues

4 years ago186 views

Flights in and out of Crimean airports captured by unidentified gunmen are continuing as normal, and the Russian navy stationed in Sebastopol has denied it has deployed its men in unmarked uniforms for the operation.

Ukrainian border guards say they have spotted around 10 Russian helicopters enter Ukrainian airspace over Crimea, and add one of their units has been blockaded inside the port city by Russian soldiers.

At the airport in the regional capital Simferopol calm reigns despite the paramilitary presence.

“Crimea is Crimea. Russia is Russia. I have been living here since my birth. Crimea always was Crimean territory. No matter what it is. We do not share the opinions that are being imposed. We do not repress languages,” said a member of the self-proclaimed Crimean Self-Defence force.

“Nobody wants bloodshed. They are just walking around. What could we accuse them of? Nor the police, nor anyone else. They do not violate anything or touch anybody. And they do not speak with anyone,” said Simferopol airport’s Assistant General Director Ihor Startelaki.

For the moment this is a standoff while both sides wait to see what the other does. In Kyiv the Ukrainian government says it is seeking ways to “stabilise” the situation peacefully.