A high level meeting between British and Ukrainian leaders, with left to right, Petro Poroshenko, the Leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party (UDAR) Vitaly Klitschko, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, as they meet inside 10 Downing Street, London, Wednesday March 26, 2014. (AP Photo / Dan Kitwood)
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Six Ukrainian military officers detained by Russian troops in Crimea have been released and were being evacuated Wednesday from the Black Sea peninsula, but five still remained in custody.
Russian forces over the last few weeks have stormed one Ukrainian military base after another in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia after residents voted in a contentious referendum March 16 to secede from Ukraine.
A Defense Ministry spokesman said the released officers included Col. Yuliy Mamchur, a commander who has earned wide acclaim for defying the pro-Russian forces who besieged his base for almost three weeks.
President Oleksandr Turchinov said he hopes to see the freed officers Thursday in the capital, Kiev.
“Those officers that so bravely conducted themselves will indubitably be awarded and promoted for their courage,” he said.