SEVASTOPOL, March 12, /ITAR-TASS/. Acting Mayor of Sevastopol, the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, Dmitry Belik, warned members of the far-right group Right Sector against appearing in the city in order to organise provocations during the referendum on March 16.
“We have taken serious security measures. We have re-subordinated municipal police to the city. They are working with us. We have also created self-defence units which are well equipped. They will monitor polling stations together with law enforcement personnel,” Belik told ITAR-TASS and Kryminform news agencies on Wednesday, March 12.
He also said that all schools would let out this week since many of them would be used as polling stations. “But this is a purely preventive measure for the sake of parents’ calm,” he added.
“Even if comrades from the Right Sector get here, they will face a strong rebuff. There is nothing for them to do here. It’s not Kiev,” Belik said, adding, “They will feel very sorry if they do come here.”
Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov warned of possible provocations by gunmen from the far-right group Right Sector who will wear Russian military uniform.
“The Council of Ministers of Crimea has received information that the self-proclaimed leaders of the Ukrainian state held a closed-door meeting of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine today” where they discussed “how to organise provocations in order to upset the referendum on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” Aksyonov said.
“We have information that the Right Sector was instructed at the meeting to prepare groups of gunmen wearing military uniform of the Russian Federation to organise armed attacks on military units of the Ukrainian army stationed on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” Aksyonov said.
“Their purpose is to provoke an armed conflict in Crimea,” he added.
Aksyonov offered cooperation to Ukrainian military personnel stationed on the peninsula in order to ward off provocations together.
“I would like to address the Ukrainian military stationed on the peninsula and tell them that Crimean self-defence units are not planning any offensive acts or acts of aggression against them,” Aksyonov said in a televised address on Wednesday, March 12.
“Moreover, [the Crimean authorities] are prepared to provide assistance to Ukrainian army units, including armed assistance. We offer voluntary cooperation to the Ukrainian military in order to prevent armed persons from entering Crimea,” the prime minister said.
“I want to say once again that there are no Russian army soldiers on the territory of the autonomy. All actions to be carried out in the uniform of Russian army servicemen will be provocations,” he said.