Russia took more steps on Monday to tighten control on Crimea. Forces seized Ukraine’s main military hospital in Simeropol and a military transport base in Bakhchysari.
Some 20-30 men in military uniforms captured the military hospital at about noon today. They carried truncheons and threatened hospital workers and some 30 patients, who are Ukrainian soldiers or veterans.
“People are really fearing for their lives,” said Evgen Pyvoval, the hospital’s director. He said the captures crammed him into a bus and kept him there for 30 minutes. “We don’t know what their demands are,” Pyvoval said.
The forces stormed into the hospital and dragged out the doctors and administration officials to introduce them to their new bosses. There are over 20 seriously ill people in the hospital.
Meanwhile, in Bakhchysaria — a city between Simferopol and Sevastopol — Russian forces also captured a military transport base. The forces also held the base commander for some time before releasing him, but allowed the Russian and Ukrainian flags to be raised together.
The Crimea parliament dissolved their government after Ukraine’s Russia-backed president Viktor Yanukovych was deposed on February 22. Since then pro-Russians and soldiers have taken over key places in Crimea such as military bases, airports, and ferry terminals. On Sunday, they captured their 11th border post. Crimea asked to join the Russian Federation and scheduled a referendum on March 16. The West said they will not recognize the referendum and will prepare further action against Russia if they justify any actions based on the votes.