March 23, 2014
Russian armour smashed into the base of Ukrainian troops on Saturday in the first serious military action between the two countries in the confrontation over Crimea.
Machine guns and stun grenades were used in the assault by Russian soldiers as they ended the siege of Belbek military airport in a brutal show of power. The commander of the base, Colonel Yuli Manchur, who had led his men in defying repeated demands for surrender, was arrested and taken away.
— Ian Pannell (@BBCiPannell) March 22, 2014
I saw the attack, which came at 4.48pm when three armoured personnel carriers (APCs) punched a hole through the perimeter wall of the base, followed by soldiers in balaclavas streaming in.
There were bursts of automatic fire and loud explosions as the troops surged through. The Ukrainians had locked away their weapons and stood unarmed as the Russians, among them Spetznaz special forces in black, began to surround them.
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