A Ukrainian serviceman holds a flag of Ukraine and smokes at a military base in the Crimean town of Belbek, near Sevastopol, Ukraine March 22, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
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 career of Sergei Yeliseyev helps to explain why Ukraine's armed forces gave up Crimea almost without a fight – and why NATO now says it is alert to Russian attempts to undermine military loyalty in its eastern European members. His rise to become No. 2 in the Ukrainian navy long before Russia seized Crimea illustrates the divided loyalties that some personnel in countries that once belonged to the Soviet Union might still face.In 2014, Yeliseyev was first deputy commander of the Ukrainian fleet, then largely based in Crimea, when Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms took control of Kiev's ships and military bases on the peninsula.One NATO commander told Reuters that, in a rerun of the tactics it deployed in Crimea, Russian intelligence was trying to recruit ethnic Russians serving in the militaries of countries on its borders.Voronchenko, who was another deputy commander of the navy at the time of the annexation, said he had received invitations to defect to Moscow's side soon after the Russian operation began.These, he told Reuters, came from Sergei Aksyonov, who was then head of Crimea's self-proclaimed pro-Russian government, as well as from the commander of Russia's southern military district and a deputy Russian defense minister.However, the base's military communications were not working, having been either jammed or cut by the Russians. Isolated from his own side, and outnumbered and outgunned by Russian troops outside, the commander struck a deal with the head of a Russian special forces unit.
FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE