Russian Black Sea Fleet denies ultimatum, blames Ukrainian media and 'puppeteers' for false reports

A spokesperson for the Russian Black Sea Fleet denied Monday that Russia had issued an ultimatum to the Ukrainian navy in Crimea earlier in the day. The Fleet blamed both Ukrainian media for the alleged false reports and unspecified "puppeteers."
By JC Finley  |  March 3, 2014 at 4:53 PM
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MOSCOW, March 3 (UPI) -- Russian media reported Monday that Russian forces are denying that an ultimatum was issued earlier in the day to the Ukrainian navy.

A spokesperson for the Russian Black Sea Fleet blamed Ukrainian propaganda for claiming an ultimatum was issued.

"We are already used to a situation where Ukrainian mass media accuse us every day of some forcible actions against our Ukrainian colleagues... The purpose of these reports is not new. It’s clear who stands behind this. These puppeteers cannot think up anything new after Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria. But they won’t succeed in getting us fight each other."

It was unclear who the Russian Black Sea Fleet was referring to as "puppeteers."

Earlier Monday, Kyiv Post reported that Russia issued an ultimatum Monday that Ukrainian officials surrender by 5 p.m. local time. Ukrainian naval officer Alexei Kyrylov, who is stationed with Ukrainian ships Ternopil and Slavutych in Sevastopol Bay, told Ukraine's Channel 5 news that he expected Russian forces to attack "by 7 p.m. tonight." Kyiv Post reported that security sources had confirmed Russia's threat.

[ITAR-TASS News Agency]

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