March 5 - Officer from a Ukrainian air defence military base says his base was blocked and personnel disarmed by armed men saying they were Russian soldiers. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A Ukraninan military officer says an air base in Crimea surrendered to armed men who threatened to destroy the base. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) COMMANDER OF S-300 TECHNICAL SUPPORT GROUP, MAJOR MUSTAFA AIKANOV, SAYING: "They attempted to storm us. The had about 40-50 people on their side. They started to storm their way into our unit where our personnel was ready to defend their ground. Their commander, a second rank captain, posed an ultimatum to our people that if we do not give away our weapons and surrender then we will be destroyed." He says resistance would have been useless. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) COMMANDER OF S-300 TECHNICAL SUPPORT GROUP, MAJOR MUSTAFA AIKANOV, SAYING: "The end result would have been the same. We would have been captured in any case, but I just think otherwise we would have been burnt to death because they had all kinds of arms with them - grenade-launchers, machine guns, all possible fire arms." He says he believed the armed men were Russian troops. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.