Ukranian pro-russian protesters demonstrate outside the air base in Belbek, not far from Sevastopol on March 6, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/Filippo MONTEFORTE)
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BELBEK, Ukraine: It's seven in the morning and the alarm clock buzzes: a new day dawns for Oleksandr – a Ukrainian soldier in Crimea living under siege from a foreign army.For the past week, this 27-year-old aviation mechanic has been stuck at his base in Belbek, Sevastopol's military airport, surrounded by Russian forces and kept away from his wife and 6-month-old baby. One morning, well-armed professional soldiers turned up near the Mig fighter jet hangars where Oleksandr works.They wore no identification or flag, but to Oleksandr's trained eye, they were clearly members of Russia's special forces. The Ukrainian soldiers were ordered by their superiors to avoid a confrontation and pulled back to the barracks, leaving their equipment and the runways to the Russian military.
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