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SEVASTOPOL, March 01, /ITAR-TASS/. Practically all government bodies in Sevastopol, the home base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine), have supported the City Council’s decision to disobey the new Ukrainian authorities in Kiev. City Mayor Alexei Chaly said on Saturday, March 1.
“I can say this with absolute confidence. We were supported by both police and Berkut [anti-riot police unit],” he said.
The mayor also urged the commanders of Ukrainian Navy units to disobey the new authorities in Kiev. “After all, they took an oath of allegiance to the supreme commander-in-chief… we would like to see them among us,” he said referring to the military.
Several thousand people rallying in Sevastopol’s Nakhimov Square have welcomed the City Council’s decision. The demonstrators are holding Russian flags and have St. George ribbons pinned to their coats.
The City Council’s decision was passed by 59 votes. “In this situation, we deputies, who express the will of the people, have only one choice: either we keep silent and watch our Berkut being destroyed and armed bandits getting posts in Ukrainian ministries, or we act,” Deputy Dmitry Belyuk said.
The City Council also supported the decision to hold a referendum in Crimea on its status and broader autonomy.