Nick Paton Walsh, Diana Magnay and Matt Smith
March 11, 2014
The pro-Russian government of Ukraine’s southeastern Crimea region declared independence Tuesday ahead of a scheduled referendum on whether to join Russia, ignoring international warnings that the vote won’t be recognized.
In the regional capital Simferopol, pro-Russian militiamen guarded the airport and train station, some wearing armbands that proclaimed their allegiance to “the autonomous republic of Crimea.” Flights into the region from Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, were canceled Tuesday, while flights from Moscow appeared to be landing as scheduled.
A guard at the railway station told CNN that he and his comrades were looking out for weapons being shipped in from the rest of Ukraine.