Pro-Russian self-defense groups backed by Russian soldiers without epaulettes began pressuring the Ukrainians to defect and swear an oath to the people of Crimea, or leave Crimea immediately. Those who have refused both options experienced raids on their bases.
At 9 a.m. Kyiv time, some 150 civilians broke through the entrance gate to Ukraine’s naval headquarters in Sevastopol. The pro-Russian crowd, led by women and a masked man, pushed their way onto the territory and shoved aside the soldiers, ripping down the Ukrainian flag and replacing it with a Russian one.
Although Ukraine’s military command said it would allow Ukrainian soldiers to fire guns in self-defense, an officer was shot and killed on March 18 during the storming of his base in Simferopol. The Ukrainian military did not fire their weapons during raids today.