OSCE: Apparent Russian troops at Crimea roadblocks
VIENNA (AP) — A multinational observer mission says Russian armed forces were apparently present at roadblocks where its team was stopped repeatedly at gunpoint from entering Ukraine’s tense Crimea region.
The finding appears to be the first time Russian troops — and not Russian-backed local militias — are specifically implicated by international observers as playing a role in controlling Crimea.
The observers were sent by the 57-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor the military situation in Crimea, which is preparing for a referendum on whether to join with Russia.
An OSCE statement Wednesday said the team observed “significant evidence ... consistent with the presence” of Russian troops, including license plates and markings associated with Russian forces. The observers were prevented from entering Crimea five times over the past week.