This remarkable statement, in the form of an open letter, has appeared on the website of the Ukrainan Navy’s news website, Flot Ukrainyny; I am passing it on in toto, without comment, it speaks for itself:
An address by the command of the Sevastopol brigade of surface ships, and the crews of the Ukrainian Navy ships Slavutych and Ternopil to the international media:
We, sailors of the Ukrainian Navy, have listened attentively to the position and thoughts of the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, which he delivered during a news conference in Moscow on 4 March 2014.
Speaking to a Reuters journalist, the Russian president subtly displayed the skills of a diplomat in avoiding answering questions. But we are military people and, as it is known, we tend to speak and act directly, after diplomats exhaust their mutual arguments.
Proceeding from this, we think that we have the right to accuse the president of the Russian Federation of a baldfaced lie. A lie that concerns the direct participation of the Russian Armed Forces in the events which have been unfolding on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol over the last few days and today too.
The Ukrainian Navy warships Ternopil and Slavutych, which are moored in Sevastopol Bay, are currently blocked by warships and vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and they are all carrying detachments of marines numbering up to a platoon. They are armed with automatic weapons and equipped accordingly.
Bearing in mind the remarks of Mr. Putin that such gear and equipment can be bought in any shop, we would like to seize the moment and ask which shop – as well as where one can purchase automatic weapons, pistols and grenade launchers in violation of Ukrainian legislation? We also would like to recall that no unit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces deployed in Crimea gave up even a single inch of the territory of their military bases or the weapons entrusted to them, let alone in such quantity, as all units remained faithful to the call of duty and their oath to the Ukrainian nation.
In response to all these insinuations, and the flows of mendacious information disseminated by dirty politicos and corrupt journalists, we – officers, warrant officers and sailors of the Ukrainian Navy – openly declare that we will honestly carry out our soldier’s duty till the end, we will defend our country and the Ukrainian people as we have been doing through all the years of independence, not for the sake of posts or salaries, but because this is our land and we cherish the lives of every person who lives on this land regardless of nationality.
Personnel of the brigade of surface ships,
4 March 2014