Russian troops who had taken control of the Belbek air base in the Crimea region fired warning shots into the air on Tuesday as around 300 Ukrainian soldiers, who previously manned the airfield, demanded their jobs back.
About a dozen Russian soldiers at the base warned the Ukrainians, who were marching unarmed, not to approach.
They fired several warning shots into the air and said they would shoot the Ukrainians if they continued to march toward them.
The shots reflected tensions running high in the Black Sea peninsula since Russian troops tightened their grip over the weekend on the Crimean peninsula, where Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet is based.
Ukraine has accused Russia of violating a bilateral agreement on conditions of a Russian lease of a naval base in Crimea that restricts troop movements, but Russia has argued that it was acting within the limits set by the deal.
Early on Tuesday, the Kremlin said Putin ordered troops participating in military exercises alongside Russia’s western border to return to their permanent bases.
The order was in line with an earlier plan to complete the exercise early this week.
There was no sign of tensions elsewhere in Crimea early on Tuesday.
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