Cossack guards stand in front of Crimea's regional parliament building in Simferopol on March 12, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ Filippo MONTEFORTE
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine: Pro-Moscow authorities in Crimea have seized control of the peninsula's main airport and limited flights until Monday to prevent the arrival of "provocateurs", a top regional official said.
Deputy premier Rustam Temirgaliyev told journalists flights would return to normal after Sunday's referendum on the flashpoint southern Ukrainian region becoming part of Russia.
"Our self-defence forces have taken control of the airport. We must limit movement, but this is temporary to prevent the arrival of provocateurs," he said on Wednesday.
"Air links will be re-established on March 17."
Flights from Kiev and Istanbul into and out of the regional capital Simferopol were suspended on Tuesday, with one plane from Kiev forced to turn around in mid-air after being denied clearance to land.
Flights to and from Moscow were operating normally however.
Sources at the airport said a gang of armed men burst into the air traffic control centre on Monday night and forced out local workers.
Pro-Moscow authorities who have seized power in the Black Sea peninsula have taken a number of steps in recent days to isolate the region from the rest of Ukraine and control entry points.
Your feedback is important to us!
We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.
Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.
Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)
The OSCE chief says a truce was holding in a key village in eastern Ukraine and urged rival sides to 'embrace a good...
A Ukrainian soldier was killed on the frontline in fighting with pro-Russian separatists in the east, the army says
Some 2,200 Romanian, U.S., British and Moldovan troops will take part in military exercises in Romania, close to the...
Pro-Moscow authorities in Crimea have seized control of the peninsula's main airport and limited flights until Monday...
FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE