Phim LARGE NUMBERS of Ukraine's military DEFECTS to pro russian Crimea
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Ukrainian special forces regiment joins other units in refusal to march against Crimea
A Ukrainian Special Forces company dispatched in Ukraine's centermost major city of Kirovograd has disobeyed an order to march on to Crimea, according to one of the officers in the company who spoke to Itar-Tass.
"Today we have been ordered to move toward the Crimean peninsula and disrupt the activity of the Crimean 'defense forces.' We have refused to carry out the order," he told the agency of the order that came Sunday from Ukraine's Defense Ministry.
The officer added that part of the reason to go against Kiev's orders was a lack of understanding by the special forces as to whose plans they had to thwart there, and why.
"Many of [our] guys have relatives there. I myself spend summer in Evpatoria," he said. "Many among us don't understand whom we are fighting for and against in Crimea."
This is not an isolated sentiment. On Sunday, much of the Ukrainian armed forces based in Crimea simply switched sides, shortly taking their military oath. Newly appointed Navy chief, Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky, has sworn allegiance to the people of Crimea, RIA Novosti reported.
Troops were earlier seen resigning en masse, while the Crimean Defense Forces kept order in Simferopol. Peaceful locals could be seen around Crimea, advocating a no-war approach.
The development has been reported mere hours after violent scuffles in Kharkov, eastern Ukraine's largest city, in which more than 100 people were injured. This resulted in pro-Russian crowds taking back the city administration's headquarters from radical far-right groups as local police took a back seat.
Crimea got pulled into the Ukrainian chaos shortly after the self-proclaimed government in Kiev introduced a law banning the use of minority regional languages across the country. With more than half of the Crimean population being ethnic Russians, as well as many Ukrainians disapproving of such radical measures, public outcry turned into action.
Residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum March 30 to determine the fate of the Crimean autonomous republic.
Similarly to Crimea, a number of other Ukrainian regions have likewise risen up against the new Ukrainian government, whose legitimacy has been brought into question, as thousands can be seen on their streets, urging their neighbors to stand up to Kiev's orders.
Arms, 400 kilos of explosives seized from Kiev radicals on Crimean border
The self-defense forces guarding the borders of the Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea have prevented a large amount of firearms and explosives from being smuggled into the republic by Kiev radicals.
The Cossacks and Berkut troops at the road checkpoint in the Crimean peninsula have confiscated explosives equivalent to 400 kilograms of TNT as well as grenades, rifles and guns, Russia-1 TV channel reports.
The blasting agent was transported in a single batch by a truck, with the local self-defense forces currently investigating the origins and the purpose of the load. They told told RIA-Novosti news agency that the driver and the passenger of the truck were Maidan activists.
"They are citizens of Lvov [in western Ukraine], Maksim Shepetaylo -- born in 1990 and Vasily Pusko -- born in 1989. They didn't hide the fact that since December last year that active participated in Maidan clashes [in Kiev]," the source said.
One of the Berkut soldiers, who like many of his comrades refused to follow the order to disband from the self-proclaimed government in the Ukrainian capital, told Russia-1 TV that the majority of the arms were seized from vehicles with Kiev numbers.
The weapons have been confiscated, despite many of their owners providing documents, which prove that they are state officials or law enforcement officers, he said.
The self-defense forces have demonstrated to journalists a loaded Kalashnikov rifle, with the available evidence suggesting that shots were recently fired from it.
They also showed a small-caliber sniper rifle of foreign design, saying that the weapons of such type have been frequently used by radicals against the police during the Maidan standoff in Kiev.
Sky News also visited a Crimean checkpoint, reporting a stockpile of weapons -- including shotguns, hunting rifles, axes and ammunition -- which the self-defense forces said were seized from cars trying to enter Crimea.
The checkpoints are installed to make "sure that everything is in order here at the entrance to Crimea, that no-one is smuggling anything that could turn our land into another Maidan," one of the guards explained.
he newly appointed head of the Ukrainian Navy, Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky, as well as a number of other high ranking Ukrainian military and security officials in Crimea, have sworn their allegiance to the local authorities.