UK & World News
Soldier Killed As Gunmen Storm Crimea Base
Ukraine has warned that the conflict in Crimea has entered a "military stage" after troops stormed an army base in Simferopol, killing one soldier.
The soldier, identified by the defence ministry as warrant officer S. V. Kakurin, died after being shot in the neck when gunmen attacked the compound.
Regional defence ministry spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said a second soldier was wounded in the attack.
Mr Seleznyov did not specify whether the base was stormed by Russian soldiers or pro-Kremlin militia patrolling the area.
Witnesses said there was no immediate evidence that Russian soldiers were responsible for the attack.
However, Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has accused Russian troops of perpetrating a "war crime".
"The conflict is moving from a political one to a military one because of Russian soldiers," he told a meeting at Ukraine's defence ministry.
"Today, Russian soldiers began shooting at Ukrainian servicemen and this is a war crime without any expiry under a statute of limitations."
The office of Ukraine's Acting President Oleksander Turchynov said Ukrainian servicemen had been authorised to use their weapons to defend their lives.
A defence ministry order issued after the attack said: "In connection with the death of a Ukrainian serviceman ... Ukrainian troops in Crimea have been allowed to use weapons to defend and protect the lives of Ukrainian servicemen."
Until now, forces deployed on the Black Sea peninsula had been told to avoid using their firearms.
Mr Turchynov also issued a statement placing responsibility for "the blood of Ukrainian soldiers (on) the leadership of the Russian Federation and specifically President Putin".
A Ukrainian military spokesman said the base was stormed by "unknown forces, fully equipped and (with) their faces covered".
An unidentified serviceman told Fifth Channel television: "We are being stormed. We have about 20 people here and about 10 to 15 others, including women."
Sky's Nick Martin in Crimea said observers reported hearing three or four gunshots at the base.
"We don't really know the chronology of what happened here," he said.
"It could be that there was an argument, it got tense, someone made a mistake, shots were fired.
"That's entirely possible. (But) it could be more significant than that.
"It could be the beginning perhaps of heightened friction between Ukrainian and Russian soldiers, and that is something that both sides will be monitoring now."