– Crimea servicemen quit Ukraine forces: Report (PressTV, March 15, 2014):
Crimean servicemen of the Ukrainian army have reportedly quit service in Ukraine’s armed forces at a large scale and returned to Crimea.
Crimean First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev told of the development to Interfax, the news agency reported on Saturday.
“Many cases of Crimean servicemen of the Ukrainian army writing requests to quit have been registered. Our fellow citizens do not want to do service in the Ukrainian army and [they] return to Crimea,” Temirgaliyev said.
Many Ukrainian servicemen, who serve in units located in Crimea, decide to stay in Crimea, he said.
“Even servicemen from western regions of Ukraine, who are serving here, move their families here and intend to stay and live in Crimea because it is much calmer here than in Ukraine,” Temirgaliyev stated.
The comments came a day before people in Crimea are expected to cast their ballots on whether the region should secede from Ukraine and join Russia.
The Crimean parliament voted on March 11 for the region to declare itself an independent state if its residents agree to split off from Ukraine and join neighboring Russia in the referendum.
Russia has welcomed the Crimean assembly’s declaration of independence from Ukraine, describing it as an “absolutely lawful” measure.
The West has warned of sanctions against Russia if Moscow annexes Crimea. The new leaders in Ukraine also say they will not accept any break away of the region.