1 Ukrainian serviceman, 1 fighter reported killed in storming of Crimean facility

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Associated Press

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 18 at 5:03 PM

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Two people are reported to have been killed in an exchange of gunfire at a Ukrainian military facility in the capital of separatist Crimea.

Details of the incident are sketchy, but the Interfax news agency quotes police as saying one of those killed was a Ukrainian serviceman and the other was a member of a local self-defense brigade.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian armed forces in Crimea says the facility was stormed by unknown armed men and that one serviceman was killed and another wounded. A local news agency recently formed by pro-Russian Crimean authorities gives a different account, saying snipers on the base fired at self-defense units.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (ahr-SEHN'-ee yaht-sehn-YOOK') blames Russia for the incident and accuses Moscow of turning the political dispute over Crimea into a military conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement to annex Crimea today, after a weekend referendum in the region endorsed the move. Crimea has a majority ethnic Russian population and is home to the Russian Black Sea fleet under a lease with Ukraine.

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