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Ukraine says top commander held after base stormed

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - A Ukrainian air force commander is being held after his base in Crimea was stormed by pro-Russian forces, and the acting president called for his release Sunday.

Col. Yuliy Mamchur is the commander of the Belbek Air Force base near Sevastopol, which was taken over Saturday by forces who sent armored personnel carriers smashing through the base's walls and fired shots and stun grenades. One Ukrainian serviceman was reported wounded in the clash. It was unclear if the forces, who didn't bear insignia, were Russian military or local pro-Russia militia.

President Oleksandr Turchynov, in a statement, said Mamchur was "abducted" by the forces. He didn't specify where Mamchur is believed to be held.

However, prominent politician Vitali Klitschko said Sunday that Mamchur is being held by the Russian military in a jail in Sevastopol, the Crimean city that is the base of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Klitschko was one of the leaders of the three months of protests in Ukraine that culminated in late February with President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing the country and interim authorities taking power before a May 25 presidential election. The protests were triggered by Yanukovych's decision to reject a deal for closer ties with the European Union and turn to Moscow instead.

Yanukovych's ouster was denounced by Russia and much of Ukraine's ethnic Russian population as a coup. Soon thereafter, Russian forces took control of Crimea and the region held a referendum to break off from Ukraine and join Russia.

Russia formally annexed Crimea last week, a move that Western countries say is illegitimate. The U.S. and the EU have imposed sanctions on Russia in the dispute, but Moscow appears unmoved.

On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Russian flag was now flying over 189 military facilities in Crimea. It didn't specify whether any Ukrainian military operations there remained under Ukrainian control.

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pacomj60 March 23 2014 at 10:38 AM

If we really want to get Russia's attention in Ukrain the president needs backbone that means he puts elements of our 911 force which is our airborne divisions on the ground and call them advisors. His problem is he is more woried about politics than our national survival.

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Odens Fist March 24 2014 at 1:36 AM

Puitn Blames the U.S.A for the fall of the failed Soviet Union, he's right, and we never fired a shot. He's just a punk, I would negotiate with the Russina Mob and have him assassinated. The mob doesn't want WW3, they want profits. As a matter of fact his entire genetic line would be ended.

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Meh... March 23 2014 at 12:39 PM


petition asking to give the power to choose what we do back to the people

Flag Reply +2 rate up
pinochlenana March 23 2014 at 12:36 PM

No matter what we do or don't do, the USA is screwed. Our president has no backbone, our senators and congressmen are useless, illegal immigrants have more rights and benefits than its citizens, and our education system is the pits. Come next elections, the people already in office are the ones that both parties will choose who will run for us to choose from. Our country is a laughing stock to the rest of the world, our money is worthless, we no longer have morals, ethics or values. We have certainly fallen a very long way and will take a very long time to climb back up.

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6 replies
Rich & Martina March 23 2014 at 9:36 AM

The taking back of the Crimea which has been Russian Territory since 1782, is reversing
Kruschev's 1956 move of turning it over to the then Soviet Socialist Republic of the Ukraine.
It was only a journal entry in the Soviet files. It still flew the hammer and sickle until the melt down of the Soviets. The current take back by Russia, does remind me of the Adolf Hitler's demanding the Sudentland section of Czechoslovakia, because they spoke German there. He
got it back to Germany with out firing a shot. I also wonder with Putin saying Crimea is Russian and it belongs back in Russia, why wouldn't Germany say the same about East Prussia, which has been occupied by first the Soviets and now the Russian Federation, they call it Kaliningrad and it does not touch Russia or Belaruss or Ukraine

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1 reply
kvave Rich & Martina March 23 2014 at 9:43 AM

Because Germany is now , since WW2 been overly apologetic and weakened with no Military Resolve. Hesitant to even commit Troops in Coalition conflict. IF ONLY we would have followed Pattons Advice , Rearming , and Rebuilding the Wermacht in 1945 , sending it full force on an Eastern Spearhead CRUSHING MOSCOW................

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EzinWy March 23 2014 at 12:35 PM

One dumb 'commander' !

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rocher54 March 23 2014 at 12:23 PM

This is the bottom line, and that's why after all the b.s. talk about Putin, blah, blah, blah being pressured by Obama, the EU, etc. .......

BREAKING NEWS - Visa, Mastercard resume services with 2 Russian banks blocked after US sanctions

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Jim March 23 2014 at 12:18 PM

Transdniestria is an independent Republic that broke away from Moldova over 20 years ago. It is a stone's throw from Crimea. In 2006 the people of Transdniestria voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation. The Prime Minister of Transdniestria has formally asked Russia for permission to join the Russian Federation just last week. So prepare yourself. Soon our President and Herman Munster will be giving speeches that state that allowing Trandniestra to join the Russian Federation is a violation of International Law. Despite the fact that the people of Moldova could care less. But allowing firebomb throwing anarchists in Kiev to overthrow the elected Government of Ukraine is not a problem.

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rrmonk March 23 2014 at 11:32 PM

Starting to sound like the start of world war III

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2 replies
DON R AGUIRRE rrmonk March 24 2014 at 12:12 AM

I said the same thing earlier. Is this going to be armegeddan.

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boller123 rrmonk March 24 2014 at 12:25 AM

Yeah, and it's funny how there's always a Democrat in office when one does start?

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1 reply
rgrunner boller123 March 24 2014 at 2:08 AM

Yeah, it falls to a democrat when the republican party fails first.

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Lauderdale Sand March 23 2014 at 6:46 PM

Putin said the protesters in Kiev were Taliban and Al Qaeda and they were causing an uprising in Kiev. What would have been better? Let Al Qaeda and Taliban influence the people of Kiev? And, they were killing people in Kiev. Putin has stopped the killing and given the people of Crimea a choice: be part of Russia, or stay independent. With all the problems in America, such as not being able to go for an evening walk in any major city in the country for fear of being mugged or killed by a street gang, voter fraud in our own country, and we know it, inflation growing daily while our government denies inflation exists here, no jobs while our government does not give the REAL unemployment figure, which is over 13% why are we worried about the possibility of Putin offending a Ukranian?

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4 replies
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