You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.


  • Government-held Ukraine town hit by rebel shells
    A town in east Ukraine came under shellfire by pro-Russian rebels on Wednesday, amid fears that they are launching a counter-offensive on government-held parts of the region.
  • Malaysia Airlines set for shakeup after disasters
    Malaysia is preparing to unveil the latest overhaul of its beleaguered state-owned airline, which is reeling from twin disasters months apart that killed hundreds of passengers.
  • Japan PM sent prayer note to war criminal ceremony
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this year sent a note to a temple ceremony honoring hundreds of World War II-era war criminals praising their contributions to the country, a top government spokesman said Wednesday.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, second right, speaks to Chief of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Alexander Vitko, left, director of the of the 13th Shipyard Russian Black Sea Fleet Sergei Novogribelsky, second left, Sevastopol mayor Alexei Chalyi, centre, and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, right, while visiting Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, March 31, 2014. Medvedev led a delegation of Cabinet ministers on a surprise visit.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Government Press Service)

Russia says all Ukrainian servicemen left Crimea

– All the the Ukrainian servicemen stationed in Crimea were allowed to leave for mainland Ukraine but 8,000 military men stayed and applied for permission to join the Russian army, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in televised comments on Friday.

Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula in March after Crimea residents voted overwhelmingly to seek to join Russia. The referendum was called two weeks earlier, coinciding with the military occupation of the region by armed men in unmarked uniforms.

Shoigu on Friday described claims that the Russian army has mistreated Ukrainian servicemen as “improper and provocative.” Several senior Ukrainian officers including a military base commander were briefly detained by the Russian forces and kept in custody for several days.

Moscow has never admitted that the thousands of troops roaming the peninsula, seizing the airports and putting up road blocks were in fact Russian. They wore no markings but some of them drove APCs with Russian number plates.

In what seems to be a cautious acknowledgment of the Russian military involvement in the peninsula, Shoigu said that Crimea faced “a threat to civilian lives and the threat of a seizure of the Russian military infrastructure by extremist organizations,” so Russia “took decisive actions” and “beefed up security of Russian military infrastructure in Crimea.”

He stopped short, however, of giving details but said the military “managed to prevent bloodshed.”

Shoigu said Russia’s actions did not violate any international laws because Russia never exceeded the agreed amount of troops stationed on the peninsula.

Ukraine and Western powers did not recognize the March vote and protested against the Russian annexation.