Ukraine said that one serviceman had died and others were injured after a Simferopol base was attacked by Russian forces Tuesday, marking the first death in Crimea from a military clash since Russian forces moved into the region weeks ago.
The Ukrainian government said a junior officer inside the base died and at least two others were injured, with one being beaten with iron bars, according to the BBC.
An armed member of the Russian forces waits outside as Ukrainian soldiers stand guard inside the Ukrainian Navy headquarters in Simferopol on March 18, 2014. Ukraine said one of its soldiers was killed in Crimea today in the first case of bloodshed since Russian troops and pro-Kremlin militia seized the rebel peninsula almost three weeks ago. (AFP/Getty Images)
At the time of the attack, automatic gunfire could be heard ringing around the base, with a Ukrainian military spokesman telling the Interfax news service that they had barricaded themselves inside on the second floor.
"One Ukrainian serviceman has been wounded in the neck and collarbone. Now we have barricaded ourselves on the second floor. The headquarters has been taken and the commander has been taken. They want us to put down our arms but we do not intend to surrender," a military spokesperson reportedly said, according to Reuters.
[sharequote align="center"]"We are being stormed."[/sharequote]
"We are being stormed. We have about 20 people here and about 10 to 15 others, including women," an unidentified serviceman told Fifth Channel television, according to Reuters.
During the attack, the BBC also reported that Russian forces had pushed back the press.
The attack came after the Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the conflict had morphed to a "military stage."
"The conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage," he said, adding "Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian military servicemen and that is a war crime."
This post has been updated.
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