Russian troops fire at Ukraine military post

The Russian army tried to take over a Ukrainian military base in Crimea

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Russian troops opened fire on Monday during the takeover of a Ukrainian military post in Crimea but no one was wounded, Interfax quotes the Ukrainian base commander.

Ukraine's Channel 5 television quoted defense official Vladislav Seleznyov as saying the shooting, a rare occurrence since Russian forces took over the Black Sea peninsula a week ago, took place in mid-afternoon at a motor pool base near Bakhchisaray, according to Reuters.

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On his Facebook page, Seleznyov said about 10 “unidentified armed men” in two minibuses drove into the compound and demanded Ukrainian personnel there give them 10 trucks.

Moscow, which has a major naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea, has denied that uniformed units, wearing no insignia, which have taken control of the region are from its military forces - a denial ridiculed in Kiev and by Western governments.

Crimean leaders who took power after Ukraine's pro-Moscow president was overthrown in Kiev have called a referendum for Sunday to unite the region with Russia.

Officials could not immediately be contacted and it was unclear whether the confrontation at Bakhchisaray had ended, according to Reuters.

Russian proposals

Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile said his country will send Washington a series of proposals for resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

“We prepared, together with members of the Russian Security Council, our counter-proposals. They aim to resolve the situation on the basis of international law and take into account the interests of all Ukrainians without exception,” Lavrov said in a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

The U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, will meet anew Monday behind closed doors to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, diplomats said.

The informal meeting, which is scheduled for 3 pm local time (1900 GMT), was requested by Ukraine, whose U.N. representative will attend.

It will be the fifth Security Council meeting on the issue in ten days.

“It is going be quite a tense week leading to the referendum on Sunday,” a diplomat said, referring to Security Council activity.

The pro-Russian parliament on the Crimean peninsula has convened a referendum to decide whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. The vote is regarded as illegal by both Kiev and the West.

The Security Council has so far failed to adopt a common position on the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow, a permanent member of the panel, can use its veto to block any decision by the body.

[With Reuters and AFP]

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