Between February 24-28, 2014, AlertsUSA issued the following
related Flash messages to subscriber mobile devices:
Russian military moves on Ukrainian Crimea. Naval blockade, 2 main airports + parliament occupied, armored vehicles, helo gunships. Monitoring…
On multiple occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers have been notified via text messages to their mobile devices regarding the movement of Russian military forces towards and ultimately within South Ukraine and Crimea, which is a peninsula extending into the Black Sea.
As of the time of this reports preparation, Russian military forces are effectively swarming the area. Naval vessels are reported to be present outside of major ports such as Balaklava with more on the way. Two main airports, Simferopol and Sevastopol, have been seized by military troops. Airspace around Simferopol has been closed and flights are being diverted to other regional airports. The UK Guardian newspaper reports that gunmen have seized the government and parliament building in a well coordinated military operation. About 120 men were holed up inside, armed with heavy weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles. The Russian flag has been hoisted above the building.
Numerous videos, photos and live streams have appeared on the Internet showing Russian armored vehicles on patrol, setting up road blocks and displaying the Russian flag. Additionally, video footage was posted Friday morning showing at least 10 Mi-24 Hind gunships flying towards the military airport at Sevastopol . These flights are reportedly confirmed by the Ukrainian Border Guards. Fighter jets are also present over the region.
Thousands of Russian troops have arrived and are progressively spreading throughout Crimea and moving into other parts of the country.
Deposed Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich has surfaced in Russia. On Friday he held a news conference during which he insisted he was still the legitimate president of Ukraine and that any laws passed in his absence are invalid. Russia is fully backing his leadership claim.
The Russian Itar-Tass news agency reports that Ukraine’s national bank has imposed capital controls and is limiting foreign currency withdrawals. Telephone communications are also reportedly being blocked in the southern part of the country.
Early Friday the UK Foreign Office has warned all UK citizens in Crimea to leave amid the escalating violence. As previously reported by Threat Journal, the U.S. State department has already issued updated travel warnings for the entirety of the Ukraine.
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine closely and will immediately notify service subscribers of any significant escalation or substantial U.S. involvement as events warrant.