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Armed men seize Ukrainian warship in Crimea

Published on Mar 23, 2014 6:30 AM
A Ukrainian serviceman (right) talking to armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, who stand guard at a military airbase, in the Crimean town of Belbek near Sevastopol on March 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SIMFEROPOL (AFP) - A group of armed men on Saturday, March 22, 2014, seized control of the Slavutich, one of the last navy ships in Crimea still flying Ukraine's flag, a government spokesman said.

The Slavutich had been blockaded in the Crimean port of Sevastopol by the Russian navy and had distanced itself from the dock in an attempt to prevent an assault.

But it became increasingly isolated in a region that is strongly hostile to the new pro-Western government in Kiev.

"Sources in Sevastopol indicate that members of the (pro-Russian) militia and Russian special forces have seized the Slavutich," the defence ministry's spokesman in Crimea Vladislav Seleznyov said on his Facebook page, citing local sources.

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