Mere days ahead of Crimea's referendum to join Russia (or not) and following reports of shots fired between Russian and Ukrainian forces, the Ukraine Defense Ministry reports (via Facebook):
- *UKRAINE LIEUTENANT COLONEL DEFECTS TO RUSSIAN FORCES: MINISTRY
- *UKRAINE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF CRIMEA UNIT DEFECTS: UKR MINISTRY
- *OFFICER CONVINCES 'SEVERAL' SOLDIERS TO DEFECT: DEF MINISTRY
Lt. Colonel Sadovnyk is the officer reported as 'kidnapped' yesterday in Bakhchisarai. It would appear Crimea is annexing itself as this comes just one week after the head of Ukraine's Navy defected.
The commander of a Ukrainian military unit, Lieutenant Colonel Volodymyr Sadovnyk, was kidnapped in Bakhchisarai on Sunday.
This was stated by the chief of staff of the military unit, Lieutenant Colonel Serhiy Hunder, according to Ukrainian media.
"It happened in Bakhchisarai, Sadovnyk returned from lunch...
As of Monday morning, he contacted his wife between 07.00 and 08.00. He said that everything was fine with him, but he was kept in an unknown location. No demands were put forward," Hunder said, adding that the military are doing their best to search for the commander.
Ukrainian Lt. Colonel Volodymyr Sadovnyk, who was missing earlier today, comes back to his motorized battalion in Crimea’s town of Bakhchisaray to announce he’s defected, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman for Crimea Vladislav Seleznev says.
Seleznev comments on Facebook
Defecting officer Sadovnyk was accompanied by armed men from self-proclaimed Crimean self defense, who fired shot in air and stormed battalion: statement
Sadovnyk asks those who don’t want to defect to leave battalion; Russian flag was raised: statement