Media reports about an alleged Russian ultimatum made to the Ukrainian armed forces in Crimea are “total nonsense,” a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said.
He said that no ultimatum had been made to the Ukrainian forces, Interfax reports.
“We have become accustomed to the daily accusations by the Ukrainian media of carrying out some sort of military actions against our Ukrainian colleagues," Russian Black Sea Fleet representative said, adding that “those who want to pit us against each other in the Crimea won’t succeed.”
“There’s nothing new about such disinformation. It’s clear who is behind this. Those ‘puppeteers’ have been unable to come up with anything new since Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria,” he added.
Also, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told RT that they are unaware of any Russian ultimatum toward the Ukrainian forces in Crimea.
The source revealed that they had only heard about the alleged ultimatum from a report by Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
“We’re interested in keeping friendly relations with the people of Ukraine and in preserving stability,” the source told RT.
Just spoke to UKR defence min source who is on a base now. Neither he nor base commanders heard about 0300GMT ultimatum, say prob nonsense.
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) March 3, 2014
The Russian Foreign Ministry also stressed that the Black Sea Fleet units in the Crimea aren’t interfering into the internal events of Ukrainian politics.
The self-deсlared Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed earlier Monday that the Russian Black Sea Fleet had delivered an ultimatum to the Ukrainian forces remaining on the Crimean peninsula.
“If they won’t give up by 05:00 local time (03:00 GMT) a full-scale assault on the units of Ukrainian military in Crimea will begin,” an unnamed source in the ministry told Interfax-Ukraine.
On Saturday, Russia’s Federation Council unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to send Russian military forces in Ukraine to ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”
However, the final say about sending in the troops lies with Putin, who hasn’t yet made such a decision.
The authorities in Crimea requested Moscow’s assistance after the new self-proclaimed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of languages other than Ukrainian in official circumstances in the country.
More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.
Crimean authorities denounced the self-proclaimed government in Kiev and declared that all Ukrainian law enforcement and military deployed in the peninsula must take orders from them. The majority of troops in Crimea switched sides in favor of the local authorities.
Feeling a threat from the new central government of questionable legitimacy, a number of regions stood up against it. Thousands of people across eastern and southern Ukraine are flooding the streets of major cities, urging local authorities to disobey Kiev’s orders. The local population is calling the government in Kiev illegitimate and demanding that their local governments refuse to take orders from it.