Russian soldier kills Ukraine navy officer in Crimea: Ukrainian ministry

KIEV (Reuters) - A Russian soldier has shot dead a Ukrainian naval officer in eastern Crimea, Ukraine's Defence Ministry said on Monday, in one of the few fatalities reported since Russia took control of the Black Sea Peninsula.

The Defence Ministry spokesman said the soldier had been preparing his belongings to leave for the Ukrainian region of Mykolaev on Wednesday when an argument broke out with Russian servicemen.

The officer, Stanislav Karachevsky, who was married and had two children, was killed with an AK-74 on the fifth floor of the dormitory where he lived, he said.

A Defence Ministry statement said another Ukrainian soldier had been beaten by Russian servicemen and detained, but gave few details. The attackers had been wearing Russian military uniforms and were holding the base commander in a nearby building, the statement added. “The Russian marine killed the unarmed officer. He killed the major with two shots,” said Ukrainian navy spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised the military’s largely bloodless takeover of Crimea after it voted in a referendum last month to join Russia but the death may boost the already high tension between Russia and Ukraine.

Kiev has blamed Russia for stoking tensions in mostly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian protesters have seized state security offices in Donetsk and Luhansk, including facilities where weapons are stored.

The first reported death occurred in Simferopol when an unknown gunman shot and killed a Ukrainian serviceman while he was manning a tower overlooking a vehicle pool at the base.