of the command of Sevastopol surface fleet brigade, officers and crew of Ukrainian navy ships Slavutych and Ternopil, to the international news agencies and mass media.
We, the mariners of the Ukrainian fleet, listened attentively to the statement and reflections the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin presented during the press conference in Moscow on 4 March 2014.
During the meeting with journalists, the Russian President made a thinly veiled comment to a Reuters journalist, using the wiggling and dodging skills inherent to diplomats. But we are the military, and it is common knowledge that it is inherent to the military to speak and act directly after the diplomats have exhausted all the arguments.
In view of this, we believe that we are qualified to accuse the President of the Russian Federation of telling barefaced lies, lies aiming to conceal the direct participation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the events taking place in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and in Sevastopol during the past several days.
At the moment, the Ukrainian naval vessels Ternopil and Slavutych, located in Sevastopol Bay, are blocked by the warships and vessels of Black Sea Fleet of the Russian naval forces. Aboard each of these vessels are marine corps units equaling one platoon, and they are furnished with automatic firearms and other appropriate military equipment.
In reference to Mr. Putin’s comment that such uniforms and equipment be easily bought in any shop, we would like to to take this opportunity to inquire which shop it was and where, in violation of Ukrainian law, automatic firearms, combat pistols, and grenade launchers are being sold. At the same time, we would like to remind you that all military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine located in Crimea have a high sense of duty and pledged an oath of loyalty to the UKRAINIAN PEOPLE. They did not yield an inch of the military territory nor a single military weapon entrusted to them, to say nothing of yielding them in quantity.
In response to all these insinuations, the dirty flood of fraudulent information disseminated by unscrupulous politicians and venal journalists, we, the officers, warrant officers, sergeant majors and sailors of the Naval Force of Ukraine, openly declare that that we will honestly perform our military duties for as long as it is necessary to protect our country and the people of Ukraine as we have done during all the years of Ukraine’s independence. We do this not for the sake of promotion or salary, but because this is our motherland and we value the life of every single person living in this country regardless of his or her nationality.
Personnel of surface fleet brigade
4 March 2014, Sevastopol
Tags: Crimea, Op-ed, Russia, Russia's Anschluss of Crimea, Russia's occupation of Crimea, Ukraine's Navy