Friday, March 30, 2007

Russian Warship Shells Ukraine Town By Accident

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine -- A Russian warship fired a high explosive shell at a Ukrainian town in an apparent accidental firing, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.

Russian warship "Tsesar Kunikov" docked in Sevastopol, Ukraine

The incident took place in the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol, where Russia's Black Sea fleet rents a military base from the Ukrainian government.

A sailor aboard the Russian warship Tsesar Kunikov, an assault landing ship, fired a 57-millimetre artillery round in the direction of the town, for unknown reasons.

The shell landed near the village Sakharna, a suburb of Sevastopol, without causing injuries or damage.

Russian and Ukrainian authorities were investigating the incident, and Ukraine's Foreign Ministry had asked the Russian government for an explanation, said Oleksander Chaly, a Ukraine government spokesman.

Conflict between Russian navy elements in Crimea and local inhabitants is closely monitored in both Moscow and Kiev, because of tension between ethnic Russians living in the Black Sea peninsula, and other Ukrainians.

Many ethnic Russians living in Crimea see themselves as an oppressed minority, and the Russian fleet as a protector of their interests.

Ukrainian nationalists on the other hand consider the presence of Russia's Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, and a first step in a Kremlin plan to reclaim Crimea.

Source: Europe News

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