Today, the Crimean crisis began

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
On February 26th, 2014, thousands of (mainly Muslim ethnic Tatar) supporters of Ukraine's new pro-Western government marched to the Crimean parliament building in the regional capital, Simferopol, where they were confronted by an equally large (and mostly Slavic) pro-Russian crowd

Crimea and Russia flags at left; Tatar and Ukrainian - at right

Fighting quickly broke out between the two groups, which killed at least two people and injured many others on both sides

Numerous policemen were also injured trying to separate the warring sides

Eventually, two leaders from either side stepped forward and led each their people away from each other to stop the violence

At left, in sheepskin hat, Refat Chubarov, Tatar Mejlis (self-government assembly) Chairman, who is now in exile in Kiev, with the Mejlis banned by the Russians in Crimea; at right - Sergey Aksyonov, former gangster turned head of a pro-Russia political party in Crimea, and now - its Governor.

The day after, 27th (which it already is in Russia and Ukraine, early morning over there right now; almost 4 am, in fact, when this next event occurred), "unknown armed people" stormed inside the Crimean Parliament and took control of the building

Russia has never admitted that those were their special forces, but, that is who they obviously were...

Soon after, uniformed troops in obviously Russian uniforms took up defensive positions around the building too

By the 28th, they had control of the airport and other vital infrastructure

and over the next days thousands more troops were flown in from mainland Russia, along with Marines mobilised from Russia's Black Sea Fleet already stationed in Crimea, in Sevastopol, to begin with; and they went about blocking the Ukrainian forces in their bases and pressuring to either defect or get out of Crimea; the storming of the Ukrainian bases and disarming of their units was not handled by regular troops, but by elite forces from either FSB or GRU

These guys were there also

Reportedly - mercenaries from Wagner Group recalled to Russia from Syria to back the regular military forces in the Crimea operation...

By March 18th, Putin, Aksyonov, Alexey Chaly (at right, installed by pro-Russian forces as Mayor of Sevastopol, which entered the Federation as a separate Federal City with own government, same status as Moscow and St. Petersburg) and forget his name, the Speaker of Crimean legislature, signed off to annex Crimea into Russia

And by 22nd, Balbek Airbase, the last Ukrainian military installation in Crimea, was stormed and taken over by the Russians, as pictured above. The rest is history...

There were, of course, pro-Russian demonstrations and such days and even weeks before 26th; and Ukraine claims Russian military covert involvement there also began earlier; as evidence, they point to the medals "For Return of Crimea" issued by Russia's defence ministry to personnel who participated there

The medals seem to date the conflict as between February 20th and March 18th, when the annexation treaty was signed.
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