Several major news media outlets, including ones located in the region, as well as Reuters, are reporting that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has informed Ukranian forces in Crimea they must surrender by Tuesday morning at 5:00 a.m. (0300 GMT or 10:00 pm Monday ET).
If the Ukranian forces do not surrender, the Russian fleet’s commander, Alexander Vitko, said, according to Interfax-Ukraine, “a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea.”
The Black Sea Fleet has a base in Crimea, where Russian forces are in control.
Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk responded that Ukraine will never surrender Crimea.
“No one will ever give Crimea to anybody,” Yatseniuk told a press conference on March 3.
“There wasn’t, no, and will not be any reasons for using force against peaceful citizens and bringing of military forces. The price should be paid for such actions. We realize that Russian Federation has its interests but we address to Russia: you have no right to protect your interests by violating ours.”
Deputy Ukrainian Interior Minister Mykola Velykovych warned that there was a plot underfoot in which people, posing as Ukranians, plan to murder several Russian soldiers in order to justify Russian military action against Ukraine.