Thursday, March 13, 2014
Calm before the storm
The past 24 hours were more quiet as Russian Federation forces bulk up and dig in. In the past 2-3 days, Russian units have focused on securing telecommunications, radio facilities, surface-to-air missile sites, and fortifying large encampments at Dzhankoi Air Base and near the two border crossings in the North at Chondar and the Perkopskye peninsula around Armyansk. A key radio tower at Mount Ai-Petri controls air traffic control communication, and was seized by Russian special forces who demanded Ukraine units on site shut down equipment. Large convoys of BTRs arrive via ferry through Kerch and vehicles and gear have also arrived by ship through Sevastopol. Numerous IL-76 transport planes have been spotted intermittently squawking on civilian bands as they shuttle in and out of sites in Russia east of the Kerch strait. Late 13 March, the Coast Guard unit stationed in Kerch retreated to Mariupol (mainland Ukraine, Donetsk Oblast) with 18 ships and 300 souls to avoid capture or casualties.