MOSCOW: The Russian Black Sea fleet based in Crimea denied Monday there were plans to storm Ukrainian military positions on the peninsula, calling reports of an ultimatum "nonsense," Interfax said.
"That is complete nonsense," a representative of the fleet was quoted as saying after Ukraine's regional military said it had received an ultimatum to surrender early Tuesday or face attack.
"We are used to daily accusations about using force against our Ukrainian colleagues," he said. "Efforts to make us clash won't work."
The Russian foreign ministry earlier said that the Black Sea fleet divisions in Crimea "are not intervening in Ukraine's internal politics" and any movements by the troops were made necessary out of self-protection.
"Movements by divisions are generated by the goal of ensuring security of the fleet's sites and preventing any possible attacks by extremists and radicals on our compatriots," the ministry said in an official statement.