2014 Simferopol incident

On 18 March 2014,[6] a Ukrainian soldier and a Russian Cossack paramilitary were killed in the first case of bloodshed during the Russo-Ukrainian War and the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.

Battle of Simferopol
Part of the Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation
Date18 March 2014
Location44°58′30″N 34°08′35″E / 44.975°N 34.143°E / 44.975; 34.143

Russian victory

 Ukraine  Russia
Autonomous Republic of Crimea Crimea[1]
Commanders and leaders
Col. Andriy Andryushyn Surrendered
(Defected to Russia)[2]
Russia Maj. Gen. Alexey Dyumin
(SOF commander)
Russia Col. Alexander Popov
Russia Col. Igor Strelkov
Units involved

Ukrainian Armed Forces

  • 13th photogrammetric center[3]

Russian Armed Forces

Supported by:

20, including civilians[5] 15 masked operators[5]
(SOF commandos)
Unknown number of Crimean self-defense forces
Casualties and losses
1 serviceman killed,
2 wounded,
18 captured (later released)
1 killed, (Cossack paramilitary)
3 wounded[1]
Notes: Cause of deaths disputed[2][5]

Russian media and Crimean authorities stated the day after that a 17-year-old Ukrainian had been detained, but on the day following that the Crimean prosecutor denied any detentions.

None of the accounts of this event could be verified independently.[4] The Ukrainian and the Crimean authorities provided conflicting reports of the event.[4][7] The two casualties had a joint funeral attended by both Crimean and Ukrainian authorities. The event continues to be under investigation by both the Crimean authorities and the Ukrainian military.[8][9][10]

Ukrainian version edit

Storming of Ukrainian military facility edit

On March 18, 2014, at 3 p.m, 15 masked gunmen attired in Russian uniforms without insignia, stormed the 13th Photogrammetric Center of the Central Military-Topographic and Navigation Administration in Simferopol, Crimea.[11][12] The base was administered by Ukrainian soldiers and had been completely surrounded by pro-Russian and Crimean Self-Defense troops since 13 March. Pro-Russian forces demanded that the garrison surrender the base or otherwise they will take the center with force.[3]

Although it is unclear how the incident initially began, reports emerged of a pro-Russian self-defense member attempting to scale a wall into the base compound, and being told to get back by Ukrainian guards. The argument escalated into live gunfire being exchanged by both sides and the storming of the base itself. However, civilian testimonies indicated seeing self-defense troops and militiamen preparing for a possible storming of the base prior any confrontation.

Soldier Serhiy Kokurin, a Ukrainian junior officer manning a watchtower overseeing a vehicle pool at the base, was fatally injured in the neck during the shoot-out. A second Ukrainian serviceman was shot in the neck and evacuated by several ambulances. The ambulances were granted entrance to the scene by self-defense troops, who sealed off the base to journalists. This death marked the first military fatality in the Russian takeover of Crimea. In addition to the officer, an ethnic Russian volunteer was reportedly killed by Crimean authorities, though it was unclear if he was killed by resisting Ukrainian troops or by accidental friendly fire (both were reported).

The storming followed with the takeover of the park located within the base's compound and the Ukrainian command center. According to civilians and journalists at the scene, a total of 15 unmarked soldiers, armed with shotguns and AK-47s, participated in the assault, supported by two military vehicles bearing the Russian flag.[13] A Ukrainian soldier on patrol at the park was beaten by self-defense soldiers with a pair of iron rods during the capture. The soldier's condition was reported as serious, according to military accounts.

Shooting continued until the Ukrainian commander, Colonel Andriy Andryushyn, was captured. He was taken hostage, along with several other soldiers, in order to gain entry into the base's nautical building, where the remaining Ukrainian personnel had barricaded themselves on the second floor, refusing to surrender. The Ukrainian commander was interrogated by Russian troops, and allegedly declared his defection to the "People of Crimea" afterwards.

Negotiations over the surrender of the nautical building, and the Ukrainian troops inside, continued until late Tuesday evening, when talks were met over their surrender. A total of 18 remaining Ukrainian soldiers were detained and placed under arrest by gunmen. The soldiers were placed in rows and had all identification marks, weapons, and money confiscated at the behest of Crimean police.[2][4][5][14][15] By March 24, the remaining Ukrainian troops who had been captured during the altercation were freed, unharmed.

Government reactions edit

Ukrainian interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russia of a war crime over the incident.[16] "Today, Russian soldiers began shooting at Ukrainian servicemen and this is a war crime without any expiry under a statute of limitations."[17] Acting Ukrainian president Oleksandr Turchynov suggested that the Russian annexation of Crimea was moving from a political phase to a military phase, following the announcement of the death of a servicemen. He issued orders on the night of 18 March, allowing Ukrainian soldiers to use their weapons to defend themselves. The Ukrainian government released a statement declaring that the steps Russia was reminiscent to those taken by Nazi Germany and its annexations of territories before the start of World War 2.[17]

The Treaty on Accession of the Republic of Crimea to Russia was signed on the same day by Vladimir Putin and the self-declared Crimean republic, formally joining the independent Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation as two federal subjects - the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.[18]

International reactions edit

British prime minister David Cameron said: "The steps taken by President Putin today to attempt to annex Crimea to Russia are in flagrant breach of international law and send a chilling message across the continent of Europe. Russia will face more serious consequences and I will push European leaders to agree further EU measures."[16][17]

Russian version edit

Alleged "sniper" edit

On March 19, 2014, Russian state media organization Vesti FM, citing the Crimean government and police, reported that authorities had detained an unnamed "sniper" in connection to the killings, a 17-year-old resident of Lviv and member of Right Sector.[19][20] Sergey Aksyonov, de facto Head of Crimea, confirmed the report on Twitter.[21] Right Sector, a Ukrainian right-wing political party which was a dominant theme in Russian news coverage of Ukraine, had previously stated on February 27 that it did not have any intention to go to Crimea.[22]

The following day, however, Interfax-Ukraine reported that Crimean prosecutor denied the arrest, its press officer stating "The information on the shooter's detention has not been confirmed. It is untrue. Unfortunately, no one has been detained yet".[23]

Igor Girkin participation edit

Igor Girkin, the commander of pro-Russian forces in the War in Donbass in 2014, admitted in his interview he gave on November 20, 2014, he was in charge of the Center's assault.[24]

I was in charge of the only unit of Crimean militia, the spetsnaz company, which carried out combat missions. But after the combat for cartography base when 2 people died (I was that battle's commander), the company was disbanded and its members parted.

(Russian: Я командовал единственным подразделением крымского ополчения: рота специального назначения, которая выполняла боевые задачи. Но после боя за картографическую часть, когда двое погибло (а я этим боем командовал), рота была расформирована, люди разъезжались.)

— Igor Strelkov, Newspaper "Zavtra", 20 November 2014[24]

Casualties edit

Ukraine edit

  • Ensign (Praporshchik) Serhiy Kokurin – killed (shot while on patrol. He received 2 shots by 5.45 mm caliber bullets, one bullet hit the heart)[5][25]
  • Captain Valentyn Fedun – wounded in the neck and arm[5]
  • Unidentified Ukrainian soldier – seriously injured in the head after blows from an iron bar[5]

Crimean Self-Defense Forces edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Moryleva, Anastasiia (March 24, 2014). Под Волгоградом похоронили Руслана Казакова, погибшего от рук снайпера в Симферополе [Ruslan Kazakov, who died at the hands of a sniper in Simferopol, buried in Volgograd]. Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian). Archived from the original on January 7, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Polityuk, Pavel (March 18, 2014). "Ukraine Officer Shot Dead In Simferopol, Crimea". The Huffington Post. Reuters. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Zamakis, Petro (March 13, 2014). "Russian Forces Block 13 Photogrammetric Center in Simferopol'". Ukrayinska Pravda. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016 – via ukraineinvestigation.com.
  4. ^ a b c d "Ukraine officer 'killed in attack on Crimea base". BBC News. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Стало відоме прізвище застреленого в Криму українського прапорщика [The surname of the Ukrainian ensign who was shot dead in Crimea has been released] (in Ukrainian). UNIAN. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  6. ^ Окупанти у Сімферополі вбили українського солдата [The invaders killed a Ukrainian soldier in Simferopol]. Gazeta.lviv.ua. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on March 18, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  7. ^ "Ukrainian officer wounded in Crimea shooting: military spokesman". Reuters. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on March 21, 2014 – via Yahoo! News.
  8. ^ a b Oliphant, Roland (March 22, 2014). "Ukraine's unlikeliest funeral: the only two foes to die in Russia's Crimea takeover are mourned together". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Vlasova, Anastasia; Grytsenko, Oksana (March 22, 2014). "Opposing sides in Crimean conflict come together today for Simferopol funeral of two men killed, one Ukrainian, the other Russian". Kyiv Post. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "Funeral held for Crimea's first casualties". rappler.com. Agence France-Presse. March 22, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  11. ^ В Симферополе российские военнослужащие штурмуют фотограмметрический центр ВС Украины, ранен в шею украинец [In Simferopol, Russian troops stormed the photogrammetric center of Ukrainian Armed Forces, a Ukrainian wounded in the neck] (in Russian). Interfax-Ukraine. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  12. ^ March 19, 2014. Ukraine cries 'robbery' as Russia annexes Crimea. CNN. (Retrieved March 19, 2014).
  13. ^ Mezzofiore, Gianluca (March 18, 2014). "Ukrainian Navy Man 'Killed' as Russian Troops Storm Simferopol Military Base". International Business Times. Yahoo! News Network. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  14. ^ "Ukraine suffers first Crimea casualty as conflict in 'military stage". Yahoo! News. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on March 18, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  15. ^ "Shots fired in Crimea, Ukraine soldier killed". USA Today. Associated Press. March 18, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  16. ^ a b Gearin, Mary (March 19, 2014). "Ukrainian serviceman killed hours after Putin signs Crimea annexation legislation". ABC.net.au. Archived from the original on March 20, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  17. ^ a b c "Ukraine says Crimea conflict 'moving to military phase'". The Irish Times. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  18. ^ Treaty on Accession of the Republic of Crimea to Russia Agreement on the accession of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation signed kremlin.ru, accessed January 23, 2016
  19. ^ Задержан снайпер, убивший двух человек в Симферополе [Sniper who killed two people in Simferopol has been detained]. Gazeta.ru (in Russian). March 19, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  20. ^ В Симферополе задержан стрелявший накануне снайпер [In Simferopol, the sniper who had shot the previous day was arrested]. Vesti FM (in Russian). Archived from the original on December 7, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  21. ^ Ivashkina, Daria (March 19, 2014). В Симферополе задержали снайпера, застрелившего двух человек [In Simferopol a sniper, who shot two people, was detained]. Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian). Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  22. ^ 'Правий сектор' не братиме участь у врегулюванні ситуації у Криму ['Right Sector' will not participate in bringing order to the situation in Crimea]. Mirror Weekly (in Ukrainian). February 27, 2014. Archived from the original on February 23, 2016.
  23. ^ "Crimean prosecutors do not confirm info on Simferopol shooter detention". Interfax-Ukraine. March 20, 2014. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  24. ^ a b Prokhanov, Alexander (November 20, 2014). 'Кто ты, 'Стрелок'?' ['Who are you,'Shooter'?']. Zavtra.ru (in Russian). Archived from the original on October 22, 2015.
  25. ^ Гибель украинского военного в Крыму: версия с 'неизвестным снайпером' отброшена, стреляли 'самооборонцы' [Death of the Ukrainian military man in Crimea: version with an 'unknown sniper' was dropped for shooting in 'self-defense']. Dumskaya.net (in Russian). March 21, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  26. ^ "Волгоградец Руслан Казаков, погибший в Крыму, награжден Орденом Мужества" [Volgograd citizen Ruslan Kazakov, who died in the Crimea, was awarded the Order of Courage]. www.vlg.aif.ru. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  27. ^ "Госпиталь Черноморского флота принял на лечение раненого бойца крымской самообороны" [The hospital of the Black Sea Fleet received a wounded soldier of the Crimean self-defense for treatment]. ForPost. April 14, 2014.