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Pro-Russian Forces Storm Ukrainian Base In Crimea

March 22, 2014, 3:01 PM

BELBEK AIR BASE, CRIMEA -

Pro-Russian forces have stormed a Ukrainian air force base in Crimea.

An Associated Press journalist at the Belbek base near the port city of Sevastopol reports the pro-Russian forces fired shots and smashed through the front gate and concrete walls of the base with armored personnel carriers.

The base commander says at least one person was wounded. He says his troops plan to turn over their weapons.

Russian forces have been seizing Ukrainian military facilities for several days in the Black Sea peninsula, which voted a week ago to secede and join Russia.

Elsewhere, more than 5,000 pro-Russia residents of a major city in Ukraine's east have been demonstrating in favor of holding a referendum on whether to split off and join Russia. The rally in Donetsk comes less than a week after voters in Crimea approved a similar referendum and Russia formally annexed the territory.

Russia has moved large military contingents to areas near the Ukrainian border, though President Vladimir Putin has said he has no intention of moving into eastern Ukraine.

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