Ukrainian Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh is urgently heading to Crimea on Wednesday in a bid to ease tensions after Russia claimed the peninsula, the government said.
“Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told Igor Tenyukh and (First Deputy Prime Minister) Vitaliy Yarema to visit Crimea to resolve the situation and stop the escalation,” said minister without portfolio Ostap Semerak.
“They are about to leave” for the strategic Black Sea peninsula, he said in a statement.
Ukrainian soldiers filed out of navy headquarters in Sevastopol on Wednesday after it was seized by hundreds of pro-Moscow activists and Russian troops, AFP reporters saw.
One of the soldiers was said to be in tears as he left and a Russian flag could be seen flying over the base, replacing the Ukrainian one that used to hang there.
Pro-Moscow militants who seized the Ukrainian navy’s headquarters in Sevastopol together with Russian forces on Wednesday said they had “taken away” the head of the Ukrainian navy Sergiy Gayduk.
AFP contributed to this report